Alcohol use in severely injured trauma patients
Riuttanen, Antti; Jäntti, Saara J.; Mattila, Ville M. (2020-12-01)
Jäntti, Saara J.
Mattila, Ville M.
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Alcohol is a major risk factor for several types of injuries, and it is associated with almost all types and mechanisms of injury. The focus of the study was to evaluate alcohol use in severely injured trauma patients with New Injury Severity Score (NISS) of 16 or over, and to compare mortality, injury severity scores and mechanisms and patterns of injury between patients with positive and negative blood alcohol levels (BAL). Medical histories of all severely injured trauma patients (n = 347 patients) enrolled prospectively in Trauma Register of Tampere University Hospital (TAUH) between January 2016 to December 2017 were evaluated for alcohol/substance use, injury mechanism, mortality and length of stay in Intensive Care Unit (ICU). A total of 252 of 347 patients (72.6%) were tested for alcohol with either direct blood test (50.1%, 174/347), breathalyser (11.2%, 39/347), or both (11.2%, 39/347). After untested patients were excluded, 53.5% of adult patients (18–64 years), 20.5% of elderly patients (above 65 years) and 13.3% of paediatric patients (0–17 years) tested BAL positive. The mean measured BAL for the study population was 1.9 g/L. The incidence of injuries was elevated in the early evenings and the relative proportion of BAL positive patients was highest (67.7%) during the night. Injury severity scores (ISS or NISS) and length of stay in ICU were not adversely affected by alcohol use. Mortality was higher in patients with negative BAL (18.2% vs. 7.7%, p = 0.0019). Falls from stairs, and assaults were more common in patients with positive BAL (15.4% vs. 5.4% and 8.7% vs. 2.7%, p < 0.006, respectively). There were no notable differences in injury patterns between the two groups. Alcohol use among severely injured trauma patients is common. Injury mechanisms between patients with positive and negative BAL have differences, but alcohol use will not increase mortality or prolong length of stay in ICU. This study supports the previously reported findings that BAL is not a suitable marker to assess patient mortality in trauma setting.
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