Home > Are alcohol-related acute surgical admission rates falling?

Fitzmaurice, CJ and Kumar, Suresh and Browne, R. and Hussain, A and O'Donnell, MA (2010) Are alcohol-related acute surgical admission rates falling? The Ulster Medical Journal, 79, (1), pp. 6-11.

External website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC29389...

BACKGROUND: Alcohol-related admissions (ARA) represent a significant burden on hospital resources. The study objectives were to assess alcohol-related acute surgical admissions to a District General Hospital over a 5-year period, to determine the cost of these admissions and to consider strategies to affect future admission rates.

METHODS: A prospective observational study was completed from October 2007 to March 2008. A daily review of acute surgical admissions determined whether alcohol was a factor for patients admitted. Data recorded included patient demographics, clinical presentation, investigations and final outcomes. This data was then compared with a previously completed prospective study between November 2002 and March 2003.

RESULTS: Overall emergency surgical admissions during the study period were 1,125 (10.4%) compared to 838 (11.02%) in 2002. There was a 1.1% reduction in ARA from 9.5% (80/838) in 2002 to 8.4% (94/1,125) in 2007. The majority of ARA were male (82.8%) and 59.8% of ARA were under 40 years of age. ARA secondary to road traffic collisions (RTC) were reduced in 2007 compared to 2002 (12.5% to 8.5%). However, head injuries (30.0% to 48.9%) and pancreatitis (3.8% to 19.1%) secondary to alcohol had increased (p=0.27). 79.3% of admissions occurred out of hours. Although use of plain x-rays had decreased (70% to 54.3%, p=0.018), CT imaging (11.3% to 20.2%, p=0.67) and upper GI endoscopy had increased (2.5% to 7.4%, p=0.82). Blood alcohol levels increased with 83.0% of patients in 2007 compared to 60.9% in 2002 admitted with a level greater than 151mg/100mls (p=0.10). The overall cost of ARA over one year was calculated at £341,796.

CONCLUSION: Alcohol-related admissions have reduced at this District General Hospital. However, despite recent government initiatives it still remains unclear how these factors affected ARA, as blood alcohol levels, alcohol-related head injuries and pancreatitis admissions all increased. Our findings highlight the relevance of the implementation of an inpatient alcohol policy combined with the availability of an alcohol liaison nurse in all acute surgical units.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Page Range
pp. 6-11
The Ulster Medical Society
Accession Number
HRB (Not in collection)

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