Author(s): Holt S, Stewart IC, Dixon JM, Elton RA, Taylor TV,
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Abstract To determine the prevalence of alcohol use in casualty patients breath-alcohol analysis was performed on 702 patients attending the accident and emergency department of a large teaching hospital during the evening. Forty per cent of patients had consumed alcohol before attending and 32\% had a blood alcohol concentration exceeding 17.4 mmol/l (80 mg/100 ml). Clinical assessment of intoxication resulted in a false-negative diagnosis in 10\% of inebriated patients, indicating that an objective measurement of the blood alcohol concentration by a test, such as breath-alcohol analysis, may be of additional value. These findings confirm that a high proportion of emergency-service patients are affected by alcohol and suggest that alcoholism treatment facilities need to be integrated with accident and emergency services.
This article was published in Br Med J
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy