Increased morbidity and mortality in elderly patients with lower extremity trauma and associated injuries: A review of 420,066 patients from the national trauma database

Zachary T. Sharfman, Afshin Parsikia, Ta'ir N. Rocker, Mani D. Kahn, Shima C. Sokol, Melvin E. Stone, John McNelis, Milan K. Sen, Apostolos Dimitroulias

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1 Scopus citations


Introduction: There is a paucity of research addressing the morbidity and mortality associated with polytrauma in elderly patients. This study aimed to compare the outcomes of elderly trauma patients with an isolated lower extremity fracture, to patients lower extremity fractures and associated musculoskeletal injuries. Methods: This study is a retrospective review from the National Trauma Database (NTDB) between 2008 and 2014. ICD 9 codes were used to identify patients 65 years and older with lower extremity fractures. Patients were categorize patients into three sub groups: patients with isolated lower extremity fractures (ILE), patients with two or more (multiple) lower extremity fractures (MLE) and, patients with at least one upper and at least one lower extremity fracture (ULE). Groups were stratified into patients age 65–80 and patients >80 years of age. Results: A total 420,066 patients were included in analysis with 356,120 ILE fracture patients, 27,958 MLE fracture patients, and 35,988 ULE fracture patients. The MLE group reported the highest dispatch to ACS level 1 trauma centers at 31.8% followed by the ULE group at 28.5% and the ILE group at 24.7% of patients (p<0.001). The overall rate of complications was highest in the MLE group followed by the ULE and then the ILE group (41.4%, 40.3%, 36.1%, respectively p<0.001). Motility rates in patients >80 years old in the MLE group and ULE group were similar (1.483 vs 1.4432). However, in the 65–80 year group the odds of mortality was 1.260 in the MLE group and 1.450 in the ULE group (p<0.001), such that the odds of mortality after sustaining a MLE fracture increases with age, whereas this effect was not seen in the ULE group. Conclusion: Patients who sustained MLE and ULE fractures, had increased mortality, complications and in hospital care requirements as compared to patients with isolated lower extremity injuries. These outcomes are comparable between ULE and MLE fracture patients over the age of 80 however patients 65–80 with ULE fractures had increased mortality as compared patients 65–80 with MLE fractures. Understanding the unique considerations and requirements of elderly trauma patients is vital to providing successful outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-766
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Elderly
  • Geriatric
  • Mortality
  • Polytrauma
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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