Pearls and Pitfalls in the Crashing Geriatric Patient

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2020 Nov;38(4):919-930. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2020.06.011. Epub 2020 Jul 24.


The geriatric population is growing and is the largest utilizer of emergency and critical care services; the emergency clinician should be comfortable in the management of the acutely ill geriatric patient. There are important physiologic changes in geriatric patients, which alters their clinical presentation and management. Age alone should not determine the prognosis for elderly patients. Premorbid functional status, frailty, and severity of illness should be considered carefully for the geriatric population. Emergency clinicians should have honest conversations about goals of care based not only a patient's clinical presentation but also the patient's values.

Keywords: Critical care; Emergency clinician; Geriatric; Intensive care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Critical Care
  • Critical Illness*
  • Decision Making, Shared
  • Delirium / chemically induced
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Frailty / classification
  • Humans
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Polypharmacy
  • Resuscitation Orders
  • Resuscitation*
  • Terminal Care
  • Triage