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J Trauma. 1999 Sep;47(3):568-71.

Alcohol and drug use in victims of life-threatening trauma.

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1
Department of Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Alcohol and drug use has been implicated as a contributing factor to all types of trauma. This investigation seeks to determine the prevalence of alcohol and drug use in patients who are victims of life-threatening injuries and the association of alcohol and drug use with intentional trauma.

METHODS:

The Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans (Charity Campus) trauma registry was used to identify patients sustaining life-threatening injuries that presented to our American College of Surgeons Level 1 trauma center over a 6-month period. Serum ethanol levels and urine toxicology were assessed at initial presentation for all patients.

RESULTS:

A total of 557 patients were evaluated. Seventy percent (n = 319) of tested patients (n = 450) had positive serum ethanol and/or urine toxicology results. Male gender (75% vs. 55%; p < 0.001) was associated with positive screens; ethnicity was not. No difference in hospital days or mortality was seen between positive and negative screens. Victims of intentional trauma showed a higher percent of positive screens (80% vs. 63%; p < 0.005).

CONCLUSION:

These data suggest that alcohol and drug use is associated with life-threatening injury, especially intentional injury. Prevention of substance abuse is essential for the prevention of trauma.

PMID:
10498317
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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