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New research examines the care of head injuries in older adults at a UK trauma center Main Image

New research examines the care of head injuries in older adults at a UK trauma center

Fri 08 Jul 2022

Researchers examine the care of almost 700 older patients with head injury at one Emergency Department at a UK trauma center



Primary: describe characteristics of adults aged ≥65 attending the Emergency Department (ED) at one major trauma center.

Secondary: examine co-morbidities and complications; identify use of anticoagulant/antiplatelet medication among older adults presenting with Head Injury (HI); assess clinical management against UK guidelines.


All ED admissions were screened prospectively to identify HI using case notes, hospital records and Trauma Audit Research Network data. Data were collected on demographics, cause and severity of injury, co-morbidities, anticoagulation/antiplatelet use, diagnostic imaging and discharge outcomes.


Over 12 months, 697 patients aged ≥65 years attended the ED for HI, representing over a quarter of adult ED attendances for HI. Mean age was 78.5 years (range 65–106), 395 (56.7%) were female. Most HIs were mild (93.5%) and 86% caused by falls. Three-quarters were discharged without hospital admission. Most had a preexisting medical condition andtaking medications prior to HI. Of these 116 were taking anticoagulants/antiplatelets but only 37 (31.9%) received a head CT scan. Half the patients were given a written HI information sheet at ED discharge.


Care of HI in older adults is challenging due to comorbidities. Practising evidence-based clinical management and following guidelines is important, but strict adherence is not common practice.

Reference: Hawley, C., Sakr, M., Scapinello, S., & Bjorndalen, H. (2022). Head injury among older adults and their clinical management: one year of emergency department attendances at a UK trauma center. Brain Injury. Source:



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