Spine

Older patients may have more in-hospital mortality after traumatic spinal cord injuries

By Robert Linnehan

Despite having less severe spinal cord injuries than their younger counterparts, older patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries had longer hospital stays, more in-hospital mortality and waited longer for surgery, according to study findings.

Researchers identified 1,440 patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries for the study cohort, with 167 patients 70 years of age or older at the time of the initial injury. The study’s primary outcome was to determine the rate of acute surgical treatment. As such, the researchers used bivariate and multivariate regression models to evaluate patient- and injury-related factors that were associated with the need for surgical treatment and the timing of surgery once patients arrived at the treatment center.

Results showed older patients were significantly more likely to be injured by falling, with 83.1% of older patients sustaining injuries from a fall, compared with 37.4% of younger patients (P < .001). Patients in the older cohort were also more likely to sustain a cervical injury compared with patients in the younger cohort, according to the researchers. Additionally, older patients averaged 35 days in the hospital after their injury compared with 28 days for younger patients (P < .005).

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