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Gerontology. 2013;59(1):17-22. doi: 10.1159/000342202. Epub 2012 Oct 30.

Correlation between age, emergency department length of stay and hospital admission rate in emergency department patients aged ≥70 years.

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Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Klinikum Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany.



Interdisciplinary emergency departments (EDs) are confronted with trauma and nontrauma patients of any age group. Length of stay (LOS) and admission rates reflect both disease complexity and severity.


To evaluate LOS and admission rates in different age groups according to traumatic and nontraumatic etiologies.


During May 2011 a total of 4,653 adult patients (defined as ≥18 years old) seen in the ED of our municipal hospital were evaluated for their primary problem, Emergency Severity Index, LOS and admission rate. 1,841 trauma patients (mean age: 51.9 years; SD 22.5 years) and 2,812 nontrauma patients (mean age: 60.0 years; SD 20.4 years) were included.


Median LOS in the ED was 1:41 h (trauma) and 1:52 h (nontrauma). Trauma patients aged ≥70 years spent more time in the ED than nontrauma patients of this age group (patients aged ≥70 years median: 2:08 vs. 1:56 h; p < 0.0001). However, no significant difference was found in patients aged <70 years (1:33 vs. 1:48 h; p = 0.64). Comparing older with younger patients, median LOS within the ED was about 8 min longer in nontrauma patients aged ≥70 years (p = 0.22) and about 35 min longer in trauma patients aged ≥70 years (p < 0.00001).


The correlation between age and LOS is stronger for trauma patients, which might indicate a special need for geriatric expertise in elderly trauma ED patients. Thus an interdisciplinary approach including surgical and geriatric expertise may be advantageous.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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