The effects of alcohol intoxication on the initial treatment and hospital course of patients with acute brain injury

James G. Gurney, Frederick P. Rivara, Beth A. Mueller, David W. Newell, Michael K. Copass, Gregory Jurkovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effect of alcohol intoxication at the time of injury on hospital outcome was evaluated in 520 adult patients diagnosed with brain injury who were admitted to the emergency department of Harborview Medical Center. Data were collected for each subject’s status from field intervention through hospitalization. Serum alcohol levels were measured from blood drawn in the emergency room, and the subjects were stratified into two groups: Intoxicated (±100 mg/dL, n=191) and nonintoxicated (<100 mg/dL, n=329). Compared with subjects who were not intoxicated, intoxicated patients were more likely to be intubated in the field or emergency department (relative risk [RR] = 1.3, 95% Confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–1.5), require placement of an intracranial pressure bolt (RR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1–1.8), develop respiratory distress requiring ventilatory assistance during hospitalization (RR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.0–3.3), or develop pneumonia (RR = 1.4, 95% CI = 0.9–2.2). The similarities in the clinical presentation of patients with acute brain injury and those who are intoxicated appear to influence prehospital care and also suggest that a more objective assessment of cerebral injury than provided by clinical diagnostic measures alone is required, thus accounting for the elevated likelihood of intracranial pressure monitoring in intoxicated trauma patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-713
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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