Erin Casimiro

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing




Rib fractures are a common consequence of blunt force trauma, producing pain and potentially leading to complications such as pneumonia, atelectasis, respiratory failure, and death. Due to physiological changes related to aging, older adults aged 65 and over are at increased risk for developing such complications. Aggressive treatment of pain has been recognized as paramount in preventing such consequences. While there are multiple modalities to treat pain related to rib fractures, epidural analgesia has frequently been recognized as an effective means of preventing pulmonary complications and decreasing mortality in an opioid sparing technique. However, it remains unclear if this therapy would serve as a definitive treatment in the population of older adults. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the effect of epidural analgesia on decreasing mortality in the older adult patient population. Literature and pertinent randomized controlled trials were searched for inclusion within this review. Six trials were included within this review utilizing the PRISMA checklist and CASP tool to extract and critically appraise data. Cross study analysis was then utilized to determine overarching themes within the data. This systematic review did not find any statistically significant data to suggest that mortality is decreased in older adults by utilizing epidural analgesia after thoracic trauma. Further research is necessary utilizing prospective data focusing on this particular patient population in order to better determine the effectiveness of this treatment.

Included in

Nursing Commons