Craniocervical trauma above the age of 90: are current prognostic scores sufficient?

  • Nicole LangeEmail author
  • Paulina Rothlauf
  • Ann-Kathrin Jörger
  • Arthur Wagner
  • Bernhard Meyer
  • Ehab Shiban
Original Article


Clinical data following head or spine trauma in patients over 90 years is rare. The aim of this study was to analyze this patient cohort, assessing clinical characteristics, outcomes, and survival rates and to identify variables that may predict early mortality. A retrospective analysis of all patients over the age of 90 that were treated between January 2006 and December 2016 at our department was performed. Patient characteristics, type of injury, and comorbidities were analyzed with regard to the 30-day mortality rate as the primary outcome. One hundred seventy-nine patients were identified. Mean age was 93 (range 90–102); 105 (59%) patients were female. One hundred thirty-two (74%) and 34 (19%) of patients presented with head and spinal trauma, respectively. Fourteen patients (8%) had a combined head and spine injury. One hundred (56%) patients were treated operatively. Mean Charlson comorbidity index was 4.1 (range 0–18), mean diagnosis count was 6.2 (range 0–12), mean geriatric index of comorbidity (GIC) was 3.3 (range 1–4), and mean Barthel index was 28 (range 0–100). The 30-day mortality rate was 31%. Multivariate cox regression analysis showed that head trauma had a 1.66 hazard ratio (p = 0.036) of dying within 30 days of admission, whereas a higher Glasgow coma score and surgical treatment had a hazard ratio of 0.88 (p = 0.0001) and 0.72 (p = 0.05) to reach the primary outcome. None of the standard geriatric scores reached any significant correlation with the primary outcome. Standard geriatric prognostic scores seem less reliable to predict mortality for patients above the age of 90. Higher Glasgow coma score and surgical treatment were associated with a higher survival probability.


Geriatric Head trauma Spine trauma 90-year old Mortality 



The study was completely financed by the Department of Neurosurgery.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Klinikum rechts der IsarTechnical University MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversitätsklinikum AugsburgAugsburgGermany

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