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Analyzing TBI in Older Americans in the ED

Analyzing TBI in Older Americans in the ED

The management of older adults presenting to the ED is oftentimes complicated by frailty and comorbid chronic conditions. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has emerged as a leading cause of injury-related morbidity and mortality among adults aged 65 and older in the United States. Previous studies suggest there are differences in both the treatment and outcomes of TBI for older people when compared with younger individuals. Older age has long been thought of as a predictor of receiving more procedures and medications for treatment of TBI in the ED. It is also believed to be a predictor of poorer outcomes after treatment in the ED. “Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of TBI,” says Lisa C. McGuire, PhD. “As age increases, the risk for hospitalization from TBI also rises. This could be due to the increased medical complexity of the patients presenting for treatment as well as other factors. As the U.S. population ages and continues to grow, there will be greater demand for emergency services to treat TBI in older Americans.” To better understand the use of emergency services for TBI among older people, Dr. McGuire and colleagues conducted a study using nationally representative ED data to characterize these visits. The study, published in the August 2012 Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, also compared ED visits for TBI with those made by people younger than 65. In particular, the study team assessed triage immediacy, receipt of a head CT and/or head MRI, and hospital admission by type. Assessing Use of ED Services for TBI The number of ED visits for TBI is increasing among adults aged 65...
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