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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-27

Rib Fractures in Geriatric Patients: An Observational Study of Surgical Management

1 Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
3 Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
4 Department of Surgery, Intermountain Healthcare, Murray, UT, USA

Correspondence Address:
Joy Dowden Hughes
Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jctt.jctt_9_19

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Background: Due to increased frailty and comorbidities, surgeons may be reluctant to perform surgical stabilization of rib fractures (SSRF) in geriatric (≥65yr) and super-geriatric (≥80yr) patients. We hypothesized that elderly patients would have delayed time to operation and more complications. We aimed to determine whether advanced age was a factor in deciding to proceed with SSRF and presented a risk for mortality. Methods: Single-institution review of rib fracture (RF) patients from 8/2009-2/2017. Univariate analysis was performed for groups age ≤64yr, 65-79yr, and ≥80yr, and SSRF vs non-SSRF. Baseline injury characteristics were compared for all age groups. Results: We identified 3098 non-SSRF patients (≤64yr, n=1770; 65-79yr, n=706; ≥80yr, n= 622) and 277 SSRF (≤64yr, n=162pt; 65-79yr, n=73pt; ≥80yr, n=42pt). For SSRF, there were no differences in sex or race, time from admission to operation, number of RF, or SSRF indications between any age group. Mortality was greater for non-SSRF patients overall [155/3098 (5%) vs 4/277 (1.4%), P < 0.01], for non-SSRF patients less than 65 years old [63/1770 (3.6%) vs 0/159, P < 0.01], and between 65-79 years old [35/706 (5%) vs 0/76, P = 0.03] but similar between non-SSRF and SSRF patients in the 80 and older cohort [57/622 (9.2%) vs 4/42(9.2%), P = 0.9]. In analysis of injury characteristics, for SSRF≥80yr greater mortality was associated with GCS <14 vs GCS≥14 (1/3 vs 0/39, P < 0.01), and more RF [median 20RF in pts with mortality (IQR:5-13) vs 10RF in patients without mortality (IQR:10-29), P = 0.02). Conclusions: Age was not associated with longer time to OR nor with difference in injury pattern or severity as indication for SSRF. Although mortality increases for RF after 80yr, among appropriately selected super-geriatric patients SSRF is a safe and effective treatment. Level of Evidence: IV Study type: Therapeutic.

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