A new study from St Michael’s Hospital suggests that, while those age 65 or over represent only 14% of the population in Canada, they accounted for 38% of hospitalizations for TBI between 2006 and 2007.
According to the study, published recently in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, that is 3.8 times greater than that for people with TBI who are under age 65, per a news release from St Michael’s Hospital.
Furthermore, per the release, the rate of seniors being hospitalized with TBI increased 24% from 2006-07 to 2010-11. In contrast, hospitalization rates declined 8% among those under 65, and there was a significant decrease in those aged 15 to 24. Together, these trends resulted in an increase in the median age of hospitalized TBI patients from 48 to 56 years.
In their study, the researchers looked at data from the Hospital Morbidity Database to examine nationwide trends in Canada regarding TBI hospitalizations and deaths. They found that during the study period, there were 116,614 TBI-related hospitalizations in Canada, resulting in 10,185 deaths, the release explains.
“During this study period, hospitalization rates remained steady for children and young adults, but increased significantly among adults ages 65 and older,” says author Terence Fu, a medical student with the Injury Prevention Research Office of St Michael’s Hospital, in the release.
“Elderly adults were most vulnerable to falls and experienced the greatest increase, 29%, in fall-related hospitalization rates. Young adults were most at risk for motor vehicle collisions, but experienced the greatest decline in MVC-related admissions,” Fu continues in the release.
According to the study, the release explains, falls and motor vehicle collisions were the most commons causes of TBI, representing 51% and 27% of hospitalizations, respectively. However, TBI hospitalizations due to falls were on the rise—increasing 24% over the study period—while hospitalizations due to motor vehicle collisions dropped 18%.
People over age 65 were most vulnerable to fall-related TBIs, with 61% of all falls occurring in that age group. Falls accounted for 82% of hospitalizations among the elderly but only 32% of hospitalizations among those under age 65, the release continues.
The researchers suggest, per the release, that the rise in fall-related TBI among the elderly likely relates to the rapid growth in this age group combined with the fact that people are living longer with more complex health issues and the likelihood of taking multiple medications. The oldest segment of the population is also most at risk of death following hospitalization for TBI, with a 1.4 to 2.0 fold higher risk of dying in-hospital compared to those ages 0-4.
The study’s senior author, neurosurgeon Michael Cusimano, MD, MHPE, FRCSC, DABNS, PhD, FACS, notes in the release that the numbers suggest that those who are admitted to hospital with TBI may be sicker and more severely injured than they used to be. Therefore, he continues in the release, hospitals and healthcare professionals should be prepared to manage more severe TBIs and older patients with more complex comorbidities.
Declining rates of motor vehicle collisions, especially for children and young adults (ages 5 to 24) may be attributable to increased awareness and successful injury-prevention policies, per the release.
[Source(s): St Michaels Hospital, EurekAlert]