A recent study from St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada suggests individuals over 65 are at far higher risk of hospitalization due to traumatic brain injuries. When evaluating data from the Hospital Morbidity Database, the researchers saw a disproportionate number of individuals hospitalized with TBI in Canada were 65 years or older.
The age group makes up 14 percent of the Canadian population but comprised 38 percent of hospitalizations for TBI between 2006-07 and 2010-11, according to a new report published in the Journal of Trauma.
The researchers also noted the rate of hospitalization for TBI increased between the two time periods included in the study. From 2006-07 to 2010-11, the rate jumped 24 percent. Meanwhile, hospitalization rates dropped 8 percent among those under 65, with an especially significant decrease in the 15-24 age group.
The Hospital Morbidity Database included 116,614 TBI-related hospitalizations in Canada during the study period, resulting in 10,185 deaths.
“During this study period, hospitalization rates remained steady for children and young adults, but increased significantly among adults ages 65 and older,” said author Terence Fu, a medical student with the Injury Prevention Research Office of St. Michael’s Hospital.
“Elderly adults were most vulnerable to falls and experienced the greatest increase, 29 per cent, in fall-related hospitalization rates. Young adults were most at risk for motor vehicle collisions, but experienced the greatest decline in MVC-related admissions.”
According to the data, the most common causes of TBI were falls and motor vehicle collisions, which represented 51 percent and 27 percent of hospitalizations respectively. However, traumatic brain injuries related to falls appeared to be on the rise (up 24% over the study period) while hospitalizations related to motor vehicle collisions appears to have fallen 18 percent.
Seniors were most vulnerable to fall-related TBIs, accounting for 61% of all fall-related TBI’s in the study. Falls made up 82 percent of hospitalizations among the elderly, but only 32 percent of hospitalizations among those under 65.
Senior author of the study and neurosurgeon said the report indicates that those who are admitted to hospitals with TBI are generally sicker and more severely injured than in previous times and hospitals should be prepared to manage and treat more severe TBI’s as well as older patients with more complex comorbidities.