Traumatic Brain Injury Profile of an Elderly Population in Puerto Rico

Jose A. Fernández-Abinader, Karolyn González-Colón, Caleb E. Feliciano, Ana María Mosquera-Soler


Objective: Describe the types of traumatic brain injury secondary to falls sustained by the members of an elderly population who received services at the Puerto Rico Medical Center and the demographic profile of that population. Methods: A group of 332 adults (60 years and over) assessed for traumatic brain injury secondary to falls suffered in 2013 were included in the analysis. The cases were retrieved from the computerized database of the Neurosurgery Section. We analyzed information such as age, gender, type of traumatic brain injury, mechanism of injury, and the performance of surgery (if applicable). Descriptive analysis was performed to derive a general profile of elderly adults who presented with traumatic brain injury secondary to falls. Results: The sample consisted of 332 elderly adults: 73% were men and 27% were women. The mean age was 76.74 (SD=9.95) years: 75.67 (SD=9.78) for men and 79.13 (SD=10.02) for women. The most common traumatic brain injury was subdural hematoma (51%) and the mechanism of injury most prevalent was the groundlevel fall (83%). Other traumatic brain injuries included traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhages (14%), cerebral contusions (18%) and epidural hematomas (3%). Of all the cases, 52% had were managed surgically. Conclusion: The elderly population is growing and the risk of falls increases with advancing age. Recurrent falls are an important cause of morbidity, and mortality rates oscillate from 6 to 18%. Elderly patients have longer rehabilitation times, incur more expenses, and have greater levels of disability. This study provides a platform for future epidemiological studies to help develop strategies for the prevention of traumatic brain injury in older adults.


traumatic brain injury; falls; older adults

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