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Implications of alcohol intoxication at the time of burn and smoke inhalation injury: an epidemiologic and clinical analysis. J Burn Care Res 2013 Jan-Feb;34(1):120-6



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84873087751   22 Citations


Up to 50% of burn patient fatalities have a history of alcohol use, and for those surviving to hospitalization, alcohol intoxication may increase the risk of infection and mortality. Yet, the effect of binge drinking on burn patients, specifically those with inhalation injuries, is not well described. We aimed to investigate the epidemiology and outcomes of this select patient population. In a prospective study, 53 patients with an inhalation injury and a documented blood alcohol content (BAC) were grouped as BAC negative (n = 37), BAC = 1 to 79 mg/dl (n = 4), and BAC ≥ 80 mg/dl (n = 12). Those in the last group were designated as binge drinkers according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism criteria. Binge drinkers with an inhalation injury had considerably smaller %TBSA burns than did their nondrinking counterparts (mean %TBSA 10.6 vs 24.9; P = .065) and significantly lower revised Baux scores (mean 75.9 vs 94.9; P = .030). Despite binge drinkers having smaller injuries, the groups did not differ in terms of outcomes and resource utilization. Finally, those in the binge-drinking group had considerably higher carboxyhemoglobin levels (median 5.2 vs 23.0; P = .026) than did nondrinkers. Binge drinkers with inhalation injuries surviving to hospitalization had less severe injuries than did nondrinkers, although their outcomes and burden to the healthcare infrastructure were similar to the nondrinking patients. Our findings affirm the effect of alcohol intoxication at the time of burn and smoke inhalation injury, placing renewed emphasis on injury prevention and alcohol abuse education.

Author List

Davis CS, Esposito TJ, Palladino-Davis AG, Rychlik K, Schermer CR, Gamelli RL, Kovacs EJ


Christopher Stephen Davis MD, MPH Assistant Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Alcoholic Intoxication
Chi-Square Distribution
Logistic Models
Middle Aged
Prospective Studies
Risk Factors
Smoke Inhalation Injury
Statistics, Nonparametric
United States
jenkins-FCD Prod-482 91ad8a360b6da540234915ea01ff80e38bfdb40a