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HOME > J Korean Soc Traumatol > Volume 21(2); 2008 > Article
Prognosis and Clinical Outcome of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome in Trauma Patients
Dong Gil Oh, Min Soo Cho, Keum Seok Bae, Sung Joon Kang
Journal of Trauma and Injury 2008;21(2):115-119
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Department of surgery, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea.

Abrupt abstinence from alcohol in cause of chronic alcohol addiction can trigger alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The authors studied the effect of post-operative alcohol withdrawal syndrome in patients who require intensive care due to trauma.
For the study group, we selected 70 patients who had undergone emergency surgery from May 2003 to March 2007 due to trauma and who had been treated with prophylactic thiamine. Data was collected retrospectively. We excluded those who extended their hospital stay for other than traumatic causes, those who died within 3 days of surgery after trauma, those who transferred to other institutions, and those who received a psychiatric diagnosis. Patient groups were determined by the existence or the non-existence of withdrawal syndrome. Age, sex, injury mechanism, mortality, complications, durations of hospital stay and intensive care, use of mechanical ventilator, and sedative use were investigated. A Chi-square test and The Mann-Whitney method were used for statistical analysis in this study.
Twenty-four (24) patients from the 58 who had an ISS of 16 or more showed alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and men were shown to be affected with the syndrome significantly more than women. Although ISS was higher in the group with alcohol withdrawal syndrome, statistically, the difference was not significant (p<0.08). The total hospital stay in the patient group with alcohol withdrawal syndrome was on average 10 days longer. However, the difference was not significant (p<0.054). The duration of intensive care in the patient group with alcohol withdrawal syndrome was significantly longer (p<0.029). The patients with alcohol withdrawal syndrome showed no significant difference in the duration of mechanical ventilator use (p<0.783), or in the duration of sedative use (p<0.284). Respiratory distress, pneumonia, upper airway infection, sepsis, acute renal failure, and mortality in the alcohol withdrawal syndrome group were investigated, but no statistically significant difference were noted.
We found that the duration of intensive care in chronic alcohol abusers was longer due to the development of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. We also discovered that, when the patients overcame the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome after intensive care, no difference was found in the frequency of developing complications, the morbidity, and the mortality. Therefore, we conclude that intensive care in trauma patients who are chronic alcohol abusers decreases the incidence of complications found in patients with postoperative alcohol withdrawal syndrome and does not adversely impact the prognoses for those patients.

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