Increased fatalities and cost of traumatic injuries in elderly pedestrians in Hawaii: a challenge for prevention and outreach.

Abstract

This study was carried out to evaluate and quantify risk factors, mechanisms, and cost of traumatic injuries in Hawaii's elderly and to identify potential preventive strategies. A retrospective review of a prospective database of patients admitted to the only Trauma Center in the Pacific Basin, between January 2000 and December 2001, was conducted. Of 2634 trauma admissions, 11% were >or=65 years of age. Mechanisms of injury included falls, motor vehicle crashes (MVCs), pedestrians hit by automobiles, and miscellaneous causes. The incidence of elderly pedestrians hit by automobiles in Hawaii is higher than previously reported. Hospital mortality rate was highest for the pedestrian hit group, followed by falls, and then MVCs. The pedestrian hit group consumed the largest quantity of resources and MVCs the least. Given the high mortality rate and associated resource consumption in the pedestrian hit group, it would be appropriate to give priority to this group while developing preventive measures for this age group.

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