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Outcomes after Falls Continue to Worsen Despite Trauma and Geriatric Care Advancements

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The most common mechanism of traumatic injury is ground-level fall. The objective of this study was to understand how patients sustaining falls and their outcomes have evolved. An institutional trauma database was used to identify adult patients who suffered a fall and were admitted to a Level I trauma center during two distinct time periods: 1998 to 2003 (past) and 2008 to 2013 (current). Data on anticoagulant use and comorbidities was gathered by retrospective chart review of patients treated during 2003 and 2013. Univariable analyses and multivariable regression were used to evaluate demographics and outcomes. A total of 6116 patients were identified, with a 24 per cent increase in number of falls between groups. Current fall patients are older (70 vs 66 years, P < 0.001), more often admitted to intensive care (28 vs 12%, P < 0.001), have longer lengths of stay (5 vs 4 days, P < 0.001), are frequently discharged to skilled nursing facilities (24 vs 8%, P < 0.001), and have higher mortality (5 vs 3%, P = 0.002). The adjusted odds of mortality for patients treated during 2003 and 2013 was associated with age, gender, injury severity score, and Glasgow Coma Scale score. Current fall patients use more health care resources and have worse outcomes, despite advances in trauma and geriatric care.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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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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