Polytrauma in the elderly: specific considerations and current concepts of management
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- Dimitriou, R., Calori, G.M. & Giannoudis, P.V. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg (2011) 37: 539. doi:10.1007/s00068-011-0137-y
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With an aging and more active older population, an increased incidence of elderly trauma patients, including severely injured geriatric patients, is anticipated. Poorer functional outcomes and increased mortality and morbidity rates in these patients compared to their younger counterparts may be inevitable due to the associated pre-existing medical conditions and the reduced physiological reserves and compensatory mechanisms secondary to aging. However, mortality and complication rates can be reduced, and outcomes can be improved, when prompt and aggressive treatment is provided. Knowledge of the specific issues, challenges and the distinctive injury patterns of this unique trauma population is important when treating elderly polytrauma patients. In the herein study, the special needs of these patients and the current concepts on their management are summarised. Research in this field is ongoing in order to develop advanced management strategies to optimise outcomes. Overall, these patients should not be treated as “older adults”, but as a special population with special considerations and the trauma care should be tailored to meet their specific needs.