Significant differences were identified between a group of elderly patients (65 years and older) and a nonelderly group both with blunt thoracic trauma. There was a lower incidence of elderly patients presenting in shock; however, cardiopulmonary arrest at arrival was more frequent in this group. Although the types of complications were similar in both populations, the morbidity and mortality rates were higher in the elderly. A high index of suspicion must be generated for an elderly patient who has sustained blunt chest trauma. An aggressive diagnostic and therapeutic approach may lead to a decrease in the high morbidity and mortality rates in the elderly.