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Defining Hypotension in Moderate to Severely Injured Trauma Patients: Raising the Bar for the Elderly

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Hypotension, defined as systolic blood pressure less than 90 mm Hg, is recognized as a sign of hemorrhagic shock and is a validated prognostic indicator. The definition of hypotension, particularly in the elderly population, deserves attention. We hypothesized that the systolic blood pressure associated with increased mortality resulting from hemorrhagic shock increases with increasing age. The Los Angeles County Trauma Database was queried for all moderate to severely injured patients without major head injuries admitted between 1998 and 2005. Several fit statistic analyses were performed for each systolic blood pressure from 50 to 180 mm Hg to identify the model that most accurately defined hypotension for three age groups. The optimal definition of hypotension for each group was determined from the best fit model. A total of 24,438 patients were analyzed. The optimal definition of hypotension was systolic blood pressure of 100 mm Hg for patients 20 to 49 years, 120 mm Hg for patients 50 to 69 years, and 140 mm Hg for patients 70 years and older. The optimal systolic blood pressure for improved mortality in hemorrhagic shock increases significantly with increasing age. Elderly trauma patients without major head injuries should be considered hypotensive for systolic blood pressure less than 140 mm Hg.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and Critical Care, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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