Alcohol withdrawal syndrome in admitted trauma patients

Randeep S. Jawa, Joseph C. Stothert, Valerie K. Shostrom, Diane L. Yetter, Heather R. Templin, Samuel K. Cemaj, Lina Lander, Armour R. Forse, David H. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background As alcohol use is highly prevalent in trauma patients, we hypothesized that a significant proportion of hospitalized trauma patients would demonstrate alcohol withdrawal (AW).

Methods The trauma registries at a joint trauma center system from 1999 to 2008 were evaluated for patients aged at least 16 years.

Results Of 19,369 trauma admissions, 159 patients had AW. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing was performed in 31.5% of the patients. BAC was significantly higher in AW patients versus other traumas (205.7 ± 130.1 vs 102.9 ± 121.7 mg/dL). BAC was 0 in 14.4% of AW patients. As compared with other trauma patients, patients with AW had a significantly greater age (50.2 vs 42.1 years), hospital length of stay (10 vs 3 days), intensive care unit length of stay (2 vs 0 days), need for mechanical ventilation (34% vs 12.7%), and pneumonia (12% vs 2.3%). AW patients were less frequently discharged to home (59.8% vs 69.9%). Mortality was not different.

Conclusions AW was diagnosed in few patients. Of note, it occurred in patients with an initial BAC of 0. AW is associated with adverse outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-787
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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