Patient mortality following alcohol use and trauma: a propensity-matched analysis.


Department of Surgery, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, NJ, USA. [Email]


OBJECTIVE : To examine the outcomes of trauma patients who tested positive for alcohol at the time of hospital arrival versus those who tested negative.
METHODS : Data were pulled from the National Trauma Data Bank (2007-2010). All injured patients who were ≥14 years of age, sustained a "blunt" or "penetrating" injury, had complete systolic blood pressure (SBP) and heart rate (HR) records, were taken to a level 1 or 2 trauma center, and who received a confirmed blood alcohol test were included in the study. Any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit (≥0.08 g/dL) was considered "positive" for alcohol, and if no alcohol was identified it was considered "negative". Patients' demography and clinical information were compared across groups using Chi-square and Wilcoxon rank sum tests. Logistic regression, propensity score matching, and a follow-up paired analysis were also performed.
RESULTS : Of 279,460 total patients, around one-third of the patients (92,960) tested positive for BAC. There were clear demographic differences found between the two groups regarding age, gender, race, and injury type. There was also a significantly higher mortality rate (4.3 vs. 3.1%, P < 0.001) and a longer hospital length of stay (4 vs. 3 days, P < 0.001) found in the alcohol-negative group. Propensity score matching was also performed resulting in 92,959 patients per group. Using the paired data, the overall mortality observed was 3.1 vs. 3.3% (P = 0.035) between the alcohol-positive and alcohol-negative groups, respectively. There was no significant difference noted in the total hospital length of stay (median: 3 vs. 4 days, P = 0.84).
CONCLUSIONS : Patients who tested positive for alcohol following a traumatic injury showed no clinically significant reduction in mortality and no significant difference in total hospital length of stay.


Blood alcohol level,Injury,Mortality,

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