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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2011 Jul;35(7):1368-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01475.x. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

Outcomes of patients with alcohol use disorders experiencing healthcare-associated infections.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA. mdewit@mcvh-vcu.edu



Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) affect 1.7 million patients annually in the United States, and patients with alcohol use disorders (AUD) are at increased risk of developing HAI. HAI have been shown to substantially increase the hospital length of stay, mortality, and cost. In a cohort of patients with HAI, we sought to determine mortality, cost, and hospital length of stay attributable to AUD.


Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for the year 2007, the largest all-payer database of hospitalized patients comprising approximately 1,000 hospitals, we performed a retrospective cohort study of all patients who developed healthcare-associated pneumonia or sepsis. We excluded patients who were transferred from another healthcare facility, who were diagnosed with community-acquired infections, immunosuppression, or cancer. Logistic regression was computed to calculate attributable mortality. Linear regression analyses were computed to determine cost and hospital length of stay α = 10(-10) .


A total of 149,892 patients developed HAI, and 8,830 (5.9%) had a co-diagnosis of AUD. Patients with AUD were younger, more likely to be men, less likely to be Asian, and more likely to be Hispanic. Patients with AUD were more likely to have tobacco dependence, less likely to be electively admitted to the hospital, and less likely to undergo surgery. They also had lower severity of illness, lower income, and were more likely to be in academic medical centers. Logistic regression revealed that AUD was an independent predictor of increased mortality: Odds ratio = 1.71, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.626; 1.799], p < 10(-10) . Linear regression demonstrated that AUD independently predicted increased hospital length of stay by 2 days: Patients with AUD had a length of stay of 13 days, 95% CI [12.4; 13.6] compared with 11 days, 95% CI [11.1; 11.4] for patients without AUD, p < 10(-10) . Linear regression also revealed that patients with AUD had a higher hospital cost: $34,826, 95% CI [32,415.71; 37,416.52] for patients with AUD compared with $27,167, 95% CI [25,703.18; 28,714.05] for patients without AUD, p < 10(-10) .


Patients with AUD who experience HAI have worse outcomes compared with patients without AUD. Patients with AUD have higher mortality, longer hospital length of stay, and higher costs. Studies aimed at decreasing the morbidity and mortality of HAI in patients with AUD are warranted.

Copyright © 2011 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.

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