Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 88-91

Utility of abdominal computed tomography in geriatric patients on warfarin with a fall from standing

Department of Emergency Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Amit Bahl
Department of Emergency Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, 3601 W 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak, Michigan 48073
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JETS.JETS_52_17

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Context: Geriatric head trauma resulting from falls has been extensively studied both in the presence and absence of blood thinners. In this population, however, the prevalence and extent of abdominal injury resulting from falls are much less defined. Aim: We aim to evaluate the utility of abdominal computed tomography (CT) imaging in geriatric patients on Warfarin with a recent history of fall. Setting and Design: A retrospective analysis was completed of consecutive geriatric patients who presented to a Level 1 Trauma Center emergency department after fall from standing while taking Warfarin. Methods: Inclusion criteria included age 65 years or older and fall while taking Warfarin. Incomplete medical records were excluded from the study. Data collection included the type of anticoagulant medications, demographics, physical examination, laboratories, CT/X-ray findings if ordered, and final diagnosis on admission. Categorical variables were examined using Pearson's Chi-square where appropriate (expected frequency >5), or Fisher's Exact test. Continuous variables were examined using nonparametric Wilcoxon rank tests. Results: Eight hundred and sixty-three charts were reviewed. One hundred and thirty-one subjects met inclusion criteria. Mean age was 83 years. Nearly 39.6% of patients were male. A total of 48 patients had abdominal CT imaging. Seven of the 131 patients (5.3%) had an abdominal injury. Abdominal tenderness was predictive of injury, with 4 of 7 cases with abdominal injury demonstrating abdominal tenderness versus only 10 of 124 cases without abdominal injury demonstrating tenderness (P = 0.003). Abdominal CTs were ordered in 11 of 19 cases of patients that exhibited head trauma yet none of these patients were shown to have sustained abdominal trauma (P = 0.08). There was no association between international normalized ratio level and presence of abdominal injury (P = 0.99). Conclusions: A small percentage of elderly fall patients on Warfarin have a significant abdominal injury. Anticoagulated geriatric patients are sometimes subjected to abdominal scans liberally without supporting physical examination findings such as abdominal tenderness or presence of a distracting injury. Specifically, the utility of abdominal CT is questionable in isolated head injury patients. Further, taking Warfarin or other anticoagulant medications do not seem to increase the risk of intraabdominal injury.

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