Implications of alcohol intoxication at the time of burn and smoke inhalation injury: An epidemiologic and clinical analysis

Christopher S. Davis, Thomas J. Esposito, Anna G. Palladino-Davis, Karen Rychlik, Carol R. Schermer, Richard L. Gamelli, Elizabeth J. Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Up to 50% of burn patient fatalities have a history of alcohol use, and for those surviving to hospitalization, alcohol intoxication may increase the risk of infection and mortality. Yet, the effect of binge drinking on burn patients, specifically those with inhalation injuries, is not well described. We aimed to investigate the epidemiology and outcomes of this select patient population. In a prospective study, 53 patients with an inhalation injury and a documented blood alcohol content (BAC) were grouped as BAC negative (n = 37), BAC = 1 to 79 mg/dl (n = 4), and BAC ≥ 80 mg/dl (n = 12). Those in the last group were designated as binge drinkers according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism criteria. Binge drinkers with an inhalation injury had considerably smaller %TBSA burns than did their nondrinking counterparts (mean %TBSA 10.6 vs 24.9; P = .065) and significantly lower revised Baux scores (mean 75.9 vs 94.9; P = .030). Despite binge drinkers having smaller injuries, the groups did not differ in terms of outcomes and resource utilization. Finally, those in the binge-drinking group had considerably higher carboxyhemoglobin levels (median 5.2 vs 23.0; P = .026) than did nondrinkers. Binge drinkers with inhalation injuries surviving to hospitalization had less severe injuries than did nondrinkers, although their outcomes and burden to the healthcare infrastructure were similar to the nondrinking patients. Our findings affirm the effect of alcohol intoxication at the time of burn and smoke inhalation injury, placing renewed emphasis on injury prevention and alcohol abuse education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-126
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery

Cite this

Davis, C. S., Esposito, T. J., Palladino-Davis, A. G., Rychlik, K., Schermer, C. R., Gamelli, R. L., & Kovacs, E. J. (2013). Implications of alcohol intoxication at the time of burn and smoke inhalation injury: An epidemiologic and clinical analysis. Journal of Burn Care and Research, 34(1), 120-126. https://doi.org/10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182644c58