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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(3), 1174-1185; doi:10.3390/ijerph7031174
Article

Can the Blood Alcohol Concentration Be a Predictor for Increased Hospital Complications in Trauma Patients Involved in Motor Vehicle Crashes?

1,* , 2
 and 3
1 University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery, Clinical Science Center H4/7, 600 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53792, USA 2 University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery Biostatistiscs, 5105 Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR) Building 1485, 1111 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792, USA 3 University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine, UW Department of Family Medicine 1100 Delaplaine Ct., Madison, WI 53715, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 February 2010 / Revised: 15 March 2010 / Accepted: 15 March 2010 / Published: 18 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
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Abstract

The goal of this report is to assess the relationship of varying levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and hospital complications in patients admitted after motor vehicle crashes. Data for the study was collected by a retrospective review of the University of Wisconsin Hospital trauma registry between 1999 and 2007 using the National Trauma Registry of the American College of Surgeons (NTRACS). Of 3729 patients, 2210 (59%) had a negative BAC, 338 (9%) <100 mg/dL, 538 (14%) 100–199 mg/dL, and 643 (17%) >200 mg/dL. Forty-six percent of patients had one or more hospital related complications. The odds ratio (OR) for the occurrence of alcohol withdrawal in the three alcohol groups compared to the no alcohol group was 12.02 (CI 7.0–20.7), 16.81 (CI 10.4–27.2), and 30.96 (CI 19.5–49.2) as BAC increased with a clear dose response effect. While there were no significant differences in the frequency of the total hospital events following trauma across the four groups, rates of infections, coagulopathies, central nervous system events and renal complications were lower in the high BAC group. Prospective studies are needed to more precisely estimate the frequency of hospital complications in patients with alcohol use disorders and in persons intoxicated at the time of the motor vehicle accident. The study supports the use of routine BAC to predict patients at high risk for alcohol withdrawal and the early initiation of alcohol detoxification.
Keywords: alcohol intoxication; alcohol withdrawal delirium; trauma; motor vehicle; complications alcohol intoxication; alcohol withdrawal delirium; trauma; motor vehicle; complications
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Kapur, J.H.; Rajamanickam, V.; Fleming, M.F. Can the Blood Alcohol Concentration Be a Predictor for Increased Hospital Complications in Trauma Patients Involved in Motor Vehicle Crashes? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 1174-1185.

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