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Taejin Park 1 Article
Alcohol Intoxication and Glasgow Coma Scale Scores in Patients with Head Trauma
Jisoo Park, Taejin Park, Jung-In Ko, Woonhyung Yeo
J Trauma Inj. 2020;33(4):227-235.   Published online December 31, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20408/jti.2020.0041
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose

Alcohol intoxication is commonly associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI), but the influence of alcohol on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score remains unclear. This study investigates the effects of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) on the GCS score in head trauma patients with alcohol intoxication.

Methods

In total, 369 head trauma patients with alcohol intoxication in a 1-year period were retrospectively analyzed. The patients underwent head computed tomography and had a BAC ≥80 mg/dL. Patients were divided into TBI and non-TBI groups. Brain injury severity was further classified using the head Abbreviated Injury Score (AIS). The effects according to 5 BAC groups were examined.

Results

The TBI group consisted of 64 patients (16.2%). The mean BAC was significantly higher in the non-TBI group (293.4±87.3 mg/dL) than in the TBI group (242.8±89.9 mg/dL). The mean GCS score was significantly lower in the TBI group (10.3±4.6) than in the non-TBI group (13.0±2.5). A higher BAC showed a significant association with a lower mean GCS score in the TBI group, but not in the non-TBI group. Above ≥150 mg/dL, higher BACs showed significant odds ratios for a lower GCS score.

Conclusions

The influence of alcohol in patients with head trauma depended on the presence of a brain injury. An association between a higher BAC and a lower GCS score was only observed in patients with TBI. Therefore, if a severe brain injury is suspected based on a GCS evaluation in patients with alcohol intoxication, prompt diagnosis and intensive care should be performed without delay.

Summary

J Trauma Inj : Journal of Trauma and Injury