Mild head trauma in elderly patients: experience of an emergency department

Gabriele Savioli, Iride Francesca Ceresa, Luca Ciceri, Fabio Sciutti, Mirko Belliato, Giorgio Antonio Iotti, Sabino Luzzi, Mattia Del Maestro, Gianluca Mezzini, Elvis Lafe, Anna Simoncelli, Giovanni Ricevuti, Federica Manzoni, Maria Antonietta Bressan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: We evaluated the risk profile of elderly patients who came to the emergency department for mild head trauma. The primary goal was to determine the difference in the incidence of posttraumatic intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) after minor head injury (MHI). The secondary objective was to assess worse outcome, such as: hospitalization rate, rate of re-admission, need of neurosurgery. We also assess the admission process times and length of hospital stay. The ultimate goal was to optimize the diagnostic-observational management of minor head trauma in elderly patients. Material and methods: We evaluated all patients with MHI who came to our emergency department during 2017 and 2018. All patients underwent computed tomography. Results: We enrolled 2325 patients, of whom 1094 were 75 years of age or older. The population was divided into two categories according to age: The “elderly population” was 75 or older, and the younger patients were younger than 75. The elderly population, in comparison with the younger patients, had a higher rate of ICH (12.1% versus 5.1%), a higher hospitalization rate (11.7% versus 5.5%), and a higher rate of readmission within 30 days (6.8% versus 3.2%). The elderly population also had longer admission process times (8 h, 25 min, versus 4 h, 09 min) and longer lengths of hospital stay (9 h, 41 min, versus 5 h, 29 min). Of the younger patients, 92% (versus 41% of the elderly population) did not take any drugs, 6% (versus 39%) were receiving antiplatelet therapy, 1% (versus 13%) took vitamin K antagonists, and 1% (versus 7%) took oral direct-acting anticoagulants. Logistic regression models revealed that a 1-year increase in age raised the risk of bleeding by 2% on average; this finding was statistically significant (odds ratio [OR], 1023/year, p < 0.001). The rate of ICH increased significantly after the age of 75, by 180% (OR, 2.82; p < 0.001). Conclusions: These data suggest that age is an independent risk factor for ICH, whereby the age of 75 entails a 180% increase in the risk of bleeding.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere04226
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Brain injury management
  • Clinical research
  • Elderly patients
  • Emergency medicine
  • Hemorrhage
  • Internal medicine
  • Mild traumatic brain injury
  • Neurosurgery
  • Posttraumatic intracranial hemorrhage
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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