Background: The population of Latin America is aging. Research from high-income countries demonstrates geriatric trauma is associated with higher morbidity and mortality. Very little research exists on geriatric patient (GP) injury prevalence in low-resource settings, like Bolivia. Methods: Data were collected prospectively for 34 mo in the emergency departments of six trauma registry hospitals in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Data were analyzed with Stata v14. Comparisons were made between GPs, defined as age greater than 65 y, and younger patients (YPs), with ages 18-64 y. Results: Of n = 8796 trauma registry patients, 10.1% (n = 797) were aged 65 y or above, and n = 4989 (63.1%) were aged 18-64 y. The majority of GPs suffered falls (n = 543, 69.6%) versus 30.9% (n = 1541) of YPs (P < 0.001). Frequently, GPs had isolated injuries of the pelvis/hip (15.9% versus 1.4% YP, P < 0.0001) or upper extremity (15.8% versus 18.5% YP, P = 0.07), while YPs had a higher incidence of multiple injuries (YP 14.8% versus GP 8.4%, P < 0.001). While the majority of patients were discharged home (GP 43.0% versus YP 48.1%, P = 0.008), GPs were more likely to be admitted to the hospital (32.3% versus 22.3%, P < 0.001). Conclusions: As life expectancy improves, the incidence of geriatric trauma will continue to increase. Understanding the characteristics associated with trauma in GP can allow for effective prevention methods, resource distribution, and discharge planning.
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