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Road traffic injuries in the elderly
  1. W Y Yee1,
  2. P A Cameron1,2,
  3. M J Bailey2
  1. 1Emergency and Trauma Centre, The Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Prahran, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2National Trauma Research Institute and Department of Epidemiology of Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr W Y Yee
 Emergency Physician, Emergency Department, Changi General Hospital, 2, Simei Street 3, 529889, Singapore; wee_yee_lee{at}


Objective: Elderly victims of motor vehicle collisions are increasing with the aging population. This study aimed to investigate the injury pattern of elderly victims involved in motor vehicle collisions.

Methods: This was a retrospective study using data from the Victorian State Trauma Outcome Registry and Monitoring Group (VSTORM) from June 2001 to July 2003, Australian Bureau of Statistics year 2001 population estimates, and Victoria Transport Accident Commission year 2001 total road death toll. Elderly victims were defined as age 65 and above. Comparison of fatality rates and general injury patterns for the elderly and young victims was undertaken.

Results: The total fatality rate of the elderly group was almost double that of the younger group. The elderly victims had a higher rate of chest injuries (23.42% v 18.17%; p = 0.003). The three most common chest injuries of the elderly victims were rib fractures (23.58%), flail chest (9.55%), and sternum fractures (5.97%). Elderly chest injured patients also had longer intensive care unit stay compared with the younger group (7.96 days v 5.31 days; p = 0.048).

Conclusions: Elderly victims of motor vehicle collisions have a higher risk of chest injuries, especially of chest wall injuries. Age specific injury patterns are important in determining primary and secondary prevention strategies.

  • AIS, Abbreviated Injury Score
  • GCS, Glasgow Coma Score
  • ICU, intensive care unit
  • ISS, Injury Severity Score
  • TAC, Transport Accident Commission
  • TRISS, Trauma and Injury Severity Score
  • VSTORM, Victorian State Trauma Outcome Registry and Monitoring Group
  • VSTR, Victorian State Trauma Registry
  • road traffic collision
  • elderly
  • injury pattern

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  • Competing interests: none.

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