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Br J Neurosurg. 2009 Dec;23(6):622-4. doi: 10.3109/02688690903215666.

Alcohol-related head injury: impact on acute CT workload in a major trauma centre.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Queens Medical Centre, Derby Road, Nottingham, UK.


National guidelines exist for the investigation and early management of head injury. Alcohol-related head injury is relatively common in clinical practice, and intoxicated patients can be difficult to fit into guidelines for imaging. A sequential retrospective study compared imaging findings of alcohol-related injuries to sober control cases. We demonstrate that in normal clinical practice in a major trauma centre, a GCS15 patient with alcohol-related head injury selected to undergo imaging by the Emergency Department team, is more likely to have an abnormality on CT than a sober patient (p = 0.014). Despite the potential for guidelines to lead to many further (and possibly inappropriate) CT investigations to be performed in the intoxicated patient group, this is not demonstrated to be the case in our centre.

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