Unintentional injuries are among the leading causes of death and disability in older adults. Although older adults account for approximately 12% of the US population, in 2008, they accounted for 15% of all traffic fatalities, 14% of all vehicle occupant fatalities, and 18% of all pedestrian fatalities. Severely injured older adults have far worse outcomes than younger adults. Despite this difference, many survive with aggressive resuscitation and goal-directed therapy. This article describes the impact of life-threatening injuries in the older adult population, specifically injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions, and how these injuries relate to anatomic and physiologic changes of aging, the metabolic response to injury, the role of preexisting diseases and medications taken to treat these diseases, and complications.

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