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Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2002 Mar;19(3):193-6.

Alcohol-associated admissions to an adult intensive care unit: an audit.

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Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Therapy, UK.



Excessive alcohol consumption is a major cause for premature death and preventable ill health in the whole population. We set out to audit admissions to the intensive care unit (ICU) of our large teaching hospital with respect to alcohol-related admissions.


A prospective audit was conducted into alcohol-associated admissions to our university hospital adult ICU over 12 months. The following data were collected for each patient admitted: age, gender, diagnosis and amount of alcohol consumption, APACHE II score, and the probability of death.


Patients with definite alcohol consumption constituted 39.1% (124 patients) of all admissions (317 patients) to the ICU. In Group 1 (89 patients), the admission was directly associated with alcohol consumption, which included heavy alcohol consumption. Group 2 (35 patients) consisted of 'social drinkers'; and Group 3 was composed of patients who denied any alcohol intake. Group 1 had a high median APACHE II score of 19 (range 4-35) and a significantly higher mortality rate (41.6%) than Group 3 (18.4%, P < 0.001) or the entire sample studied (23.7%, P < 0.001). The results also demonstrated an incidence of pneumonia of 29.2% (26 patients) in alcohol-associated admissions compared with 22.8% (eight patients) in Group 2 and 21.8% (19 patients) in Group 3. Trauma admissions amounted to 11.4% of the patients studied (24/211 patients), 17 (70.8%) of whom were directly associated with alcohol and it included 11 pedestrians.


Alcohol may play a major role in the admission and mortality of ICU patients. Further investigations are warranted because our sample size is so small.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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