Objectives Recent studies suggest that survival after traumatic cardiac arrest (TCA) has been improving. Many elderly adults enjoy active lifestyles, which occasionally result in TCA. The epidemiology and efficacy of resuscitative procedures on blunt TCA in elderly patients are largely unknown. Our primary aim was to compare the survival to discharge following blunt TCA between non-elderly adult (ages 18–59 years) and elderly patients (age ≥60 years).
Methods We analysed 2004–2015 observational cohort data from a nationwide trauma registry in Japan. We included all adult patients (18 years and older) who experienced blunt TCA. We excluded patients missing data for age, survival, mechanism of injury or initial vital signs. Resuscitative procedures included thoracotomy and resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta. We compared survival for elderly patients (age ≥60 years old) to younger adults.
Results Of 8347 patients with blunt TCA, 3547 (42.5%) were elderly. Survival differed significantly by age: 164/4800 (3.4%) of younger adults survived whereas 188/3547 (5.3%) of elderly patients survived (p<0.001). Survival increased but Injury Severity Scores (ISSs) declined with increasing patient age. The efficacy of resuscitative procedures did not vary by age. In logistic regression models, increasing age was independently associated with better survival.
Conclusion In a cohort of patients with blunt TCA, survival increased with increasing patient age. A number of patients with low ISS in the elderly group raises the possibility that this improved survival is due to preceding or concomitant medical cardiac arrest in the older cohort. Clinicians should be cautious about applying TCA algorithms to elderly patients and should not be discouraged from resuscitating TCA because of patient age.
- major trauma management
- cardiac arrest
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