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Factors Associated With Triage Decisions in Older Adult Trauma Patients: Impact on Mortality and Morbidity. J Surg Res 2023 Aug;288:157-165



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85151470686 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)


INTRODUCTION: As medical advances have significantly increased the life expectancy among older adults, the number of older patients requiring trauma care has risen proportionately. Nevertheless, it is unclear among this growing population which sociodemographic and economic factors are associated with decisions to triage and transfer to level I/II centers. This study aims to assess for any association between patient sociodemographic characteristics, triage decisions, and outcomes during acute trauma care presentations.

METHODS: The National Trauma Data Bank was queried for patients aged 65 and older with an injury severity score > 15 between the years 2007 to 2017. Factors associated with subsequent levels of triage on presentation were assessed using multivariate logistic regression, and associations of levels of triage with outcomes of mortality, morbidity, and hospital length of stay are examined using logistic and linear regression models.

RESULTS: Triage of 210,310 older adult trauma patients showed significant findings. American Indian patients had higher odds of being transferred to level I/II centers, while Asian, Black, and Native Hawaiian patients had lower odds of being transferred to level I/II centers when compared to Caucasian patients (P < 0.001). Regarding insurance, self-pay (uninsured) patients were less likely to be transferred to a higher level of care; however, this was also demonstrated in private insurance holders (P < 0.001). Caucasian patients had significantly higher odds of mortality, with Black patients (odds ratio [OR] 0.80 [0.75, 0.85]) and American Indian patients (OR 0.87 [0.72, 1.04]) having significantly lower odds (P < 0.001). Compared to government insurance, private insurance holders (OR 0.82 [0.80, 0.85]) also had significantly lower odds of mortality, while higher odds among self-pay were observed (OR 1.75 [1.62, 1.90]), (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Access to insurance is associated with triage decisions involving older adults sustaining trauma, with lower access increasing mortality risk. Factors such as race and gender were less likely to be associated with triage decisions. However, due to this study's retrospective design, further prospective analysis is necessary to fully assess the decisions that influence trauma triage decisions in this patient population.

Author List

Haines KL, Truong T, Trujillo CN, Freeman JJ, Cox CE, Fernandez-More J, Morris R, Antonescu I, Burlotos A, Grisel B, Agarwal S, Kuchibhatla M


Rachel S. Morris MD Assistant Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Injury Severity Score
Retrospective Studies
Trauma Centers
Wounds and Injuries