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J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2012 Jul;73(1):175-8. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31824acc08.

The aging motorcyclist: a comparative epidemiologic study on pattern and severity of injury.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA.



The industry statistics demonstrates an increasingly older population is riding motorcycles. This study was designed to identify the orthopedic injuries and their hospital outcome for riders older than 50 years versus younger than 50 years.


We identified all patients who were injured in a motorcycle collision between 2004 and 2009. The charts were reviewed to obtain demographic data, initial injury severity markers, and hospital outcome measures. Radiographs were reviewed and all fractures classified according to the AO/OTA system. Statistical analysis was completed with patients grouped into age <50 years versus ≥ 50 years with p ≤ 0.05 determined as significant.


There were 436 patients who comprised the study population. Older patients had more medical comorbidities at the time of injury (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between age groups for any initial injury severity markers or fracture complexity. Older patients had a longer average length of stay (p < 0.05), intensive care unit days (p < 0.001), ventilator days (p = 0.001), and rate of complications than younger patients (p < 0.05). Older patients had a significantly higher mortality rate (6.8% vs. 2.4%; p = 0.04).


Advanced age demonstrated correlation with prolonged hospital stay and requirement of more aggressive medical care. An increased risk of mortality was demonstrated for the older motorcyclist. However, age alone did not affect the severity or distribution of orthopedic injuries in this study. As the motorcycle riding population ages, it is important to understand the injuries and hospital course of these patients, along with the increased mortality rates and health care expenditure burden which can be expected.


Epidemiological study, level III.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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