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Anaesthesia. 2012 Oct;67(10):1132-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2012.07233.x. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

A national service evaluation of the impact of alcohol on admissions to Scottish intensive care units.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.


Alcohol-related disease adversely affects the outcome of critically ill patients. The burden of this in Scotland is higher than elsewhere in the United Kingdom. In a prospective observational study of all patients admitted to the 24 intensive care units in Scotland we assessed the proportion of admissions in which alcohol-related disease was implicated. Of 771 admissions, 642 (83.3%) were unplanned and 196 (25.4%) were related to alcohol. There was a significantly higher proportion of men in the alcohol-related admissions group (140 (71.4%) vs 291 (50.6%), p=0.009). This group was also significantly younger with median (IQR [range]) ages of 51 (38-63 [16-89]) vs 63 (48-73 [16-92]) years (p<0.001). The alcohol-related group had a significantly longer period of ventilation with a median (IQR [range]) of 2 (1-6 [0-176]) vs 1 (0-4 [0-136]) days (p<0.005). Admissions from an area of deprivation were more likely to be related to alcohol. Alcohol-related admissions have a significant impact on Scottish intensive care services, with an extrapolated cost of £8.9 million per year.

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