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Am J Emerg Med. 2003 Mar;21(2):91-4.

Alcohol intoxication increases morbidity in drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Veterans General Hospital-Taipei, Taiwan.


We prospectively examined the correlation of alcohol intoxication with injury severity, morbidity, and mortality in drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents in a prospective cohort study. The study enrolled 923 injured patients, of whom 421 were legally intoxicated (blood alcohol concentration [BAC] > or = 50 mg/dL) and 502 were not intoxicated (BAC < 50 mg/dL). The intoxicated drivers had a significantly higher injury severity score (ISS), lower Glasgow Coma Score, lower systolic blood pressure; higher rate in old age, male sex, greater rate of habitual drinking, greater lack of use of safety gear, and greater accident-related morbidity. After logistic regression analysis, alcohol intoxication was not associated with severe injury (ISS > or = 9); however, alcohol intoxication analyzed either as a preinjury or postinjury risk factor, was one of the predictors for morbidity. Severe head injury was the only predictor of mortality. In conclusion, although alcohol intoxication is not associated with an increased incidence of severe injury or mortality in drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes, it is one of the significant predictors for morbidity after injury.

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