The "WAM" score: Sensitivity and specificity of a user friendly biological screening test for alcohol problems in trauma patients

Odd Nilssen, Richard Ries, Fredrick P. Rivara, James G. Gurney, Gregory Jurkovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on a weighted aggregation of three biological alcohol markers (gamma-glutamyltransferase, blood alcohol and mean corpuscular volume), this study presents a screening instrument for alcohol problems in trauma patients. The sex-specific performance of this instrument was explored on 1088 male and 352 female patients, 18 years or older, admitted with blunt or penetrating trauma during a 30-month period to a regional level one trauma center in Seattle, Washington (USA). The sum of the differentially weighted alcohol markers ("WAM"), determined from one blood sample, formed a "score continuum" ranging from 0 to 24. The WAM scores distributed themselves across the trauma population with higher WAM scores being correlated to higher screening instrument scores for alcohol problems. By using two of the best established screening tests for alcohol problems (CAGE and SMAST) to define cut-off points for likely "alcohol abuse/dependence", the WAM score of ≥ 7 in males showed 75% sensitivity and 83% specificity, whereas the WAM score of ≥ 6 for females displayed 85% sensitivity and 85% specificity. We conclude that a weighted combination of biological alcohol markers (WAM score) is a useful tool for identifying alcohol problems among trauma patients. Representing an alternative or addition to a more extensive interview, it could be used as a routine part of the care of trauma patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalAddiction
Volume91
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The "WAM" score: Sensitivity and specificity of a user friendly biological screening test for alcohol problems in trauma patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this