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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research
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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Alcohol Screening in a National Referral Hospital: An Observational Study from Qatar

Ayman El-Menyar, Rafael Consunji, Ahammed Mekkodathil, Ruben Peralta, Hassan Al-Thani

(Clinical Research, Trauma Surgery, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:6082-6088

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.905201


BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption is a high-risk factor for several medical disorders and traffic accidents and poses a burden on outpatient clinics and emergency units. We aimed to assess the pattern of alcohol screening among patients in a multicultural setting in a national referral hospital in an Arab Middle-Eastern country.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective analysis was conducted for patients who were screened with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the Emergency Department (ED) in the period from January 2009 to December 2012. BAC positive and negative patients were compared, and BAC positive patients were classified into mmol/L (Group 1: BAC 0.1–10.8 (less intoxicated); Group 2: BAC 10.9–21.7 (intoxicated), and Group 3: >21.7 mmol/L (intoxicated at CNS depression level).
RESULTS: A total of 9417 patient visits were screened for BAC during the study period (an average of 4.87 per 1000 ED visits); 38% of these tested positive. Most screened persons were males (97%) with a mean age of 37.5±11.6 years. There was a steady increase in BAC screening initially (3.18 per 1000 ED visits in 2009 and 7.47 in 2012). However, the proportion of BAC-positives per total screened decreased steadily over the years, from 50% in 2008 to 33% in 2012. There were more BAC positives (92% vs. 81%, p<0.05) in patients seeking medical vs. non-medical assessment. Among BAC positives, Group 3 patients had higher HLOS (p=0.001), but the ICU-LOS was comparable.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the absence of a clinical protocol for alcohol screening, this study shows that alcohol consumption has a serious impact in ED visits and hospitalizations, even in a country that partially prohibits alcohol drinking. Implementing a protocol for the screening of alcohol misuse among select hospitalized patients should be considered in the ED.

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