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Hunold KM, Sochor MR, McLean SA, Mosteller KB, Fernandez AR, Platts-Mills TF. Accid. Anal. Prev. 2014; 73C: 373-379.


University of North Carolina, Department of Emergency Medicine, United States; University of North Carolina, Department of Anesthesiology, United States. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2014, Elsevier Publishing)






Older adults are at greater risk than younger adults for life-threatening injury after motor vehicle collision (MVC). Among those with life-threatening injury, older adults are also at greater risk of not being transported by emergency medical services (EMS) to an emergency department. Despite the greater risk of serious injury and non-transportation among older adults, little is known about the relationship between patient age and EMS transportation rates for individuals experiencing MVC. We describe transport rates across the age-span for adults seen by EMS after experiencing MVC using data reported to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles between 2008 and 2011. Of all adults aged 18 years and older experiencing MVC and seen by EMS (n=484,310), 36.3% (n=175,768) were transported to an emergency department. Rates of transport for individuals seen by EMS after MVC increased only a small amount with increasing patient age. After adjusting for potential confounders of the relationship between patient age and the decision to transport (patient gender, patient race, air bag deployment, patient trapped or ejected, and injury severity), transport rates were: age 18-64=36.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 35.9-36.2%); age 65-74=36.6% (95% CI, 36.0-37.1%); age 75-84=37.3% (95% CI, 36.5-38.1%), and age 85-94=38.2% (95% CI, 36.7-39.8%). In North Carolina between 2008 and 2011, the transportation rate was only slightly higher for older adults than for younger adults, and most older adults experiencing MVC and seen by EMS were not transported to the emergency department. These findings have implications for efforts to improve the sensitivity of criteria used by EMS to determine the need for transport for older adults experiencing MVC.

Language: en


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