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Trauma. 2019 Jan;21(1):21-26. doi: 10.1177/1460408618783221. Epub 2018 Jun 22.

Major trauma in the elderly: Frailty decline and patient experience after injury.

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Major Trauma Centre, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK.



The prevalence of major trauma in the elderly is increasing with ageing western societies. Frailty is now a well-recognised predictor of poor outcome after injury; however, few studies have focused on the progression of frailty and patients' perceptions of their injuries after discharge.


We hypothesised that the number of elderly patients that survive major trauma is low and, of those that do, frailty post injury worsens with overall negative views about quality of life. To investigate this, we examined mortality, frailty and patient experience for elderly major trauma admissions to a level 1 trauma centre at one year after admission.


All consecutive patients > 75 with an injury severity score of > 15 were included in the study. Patients were invited to participate in a structured telephone interview to assess change in frailty status as well as assess patient experience after injury.


A total of 79 patients met inclusion criteria; 34 patients had died and 17 were uncontactable; 88% had become more frail (p < 0.05), and more than half commented positively on their overall quality of life following injury.


These findings highlight the elevated mortality in elderly major trauma patients, but also indicate that preconceived opinions on quality of life, post injury, might not be appropriate.


Major trauma; elderly; frailty; geriatrics; reported Edmonton Frail Scale

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