Prevalence of acute alcohol intoxication in Borgo Trento Hospital Emergency Department (Verona).


Acute intoxication
Emergency department


Introduction: Alcohol is an important factor weighting towards global disease burden, premature death and Disability-Adjusted Life Years. This study examines the burden imposed on the Borgo Trento Verona Hospital Emergency Department (ED) by patients with acute alcohol intoxication (AAI).

Methods: A 6-year retrospective study was performed by reviewing medical records in all patients (≥16 years old) diagnosed with AAI. Clinical criteria for inclusion in the sample followed those defined in the Alcohol Intoxication Symptomsâ section of DSM-IV-TR. Ambiguous cases presenting traumas potentially related to AAI were confirmed positive using a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) test before inclusion in the sample. Socio-demographic data, case history, timing of admission/discharge and outcome were collected for each patient.

Results: One thousand five hundred forty-seven patients (males:females = 6.6:1) were included in the study. With regard to marital status, the crude rate within the sample shows that single and married subjects have a significantly higher prevalence (p<0.01). When demographic data of residents was taken into consideration, divorced/separated and single categories were significantly more represented (p<0.05).

The admissions appeared fairly constant throughout the week with a higher prevalence of patients aged between 25-55 years, and a significant peak of the youngest age class on weekends. Higher rates of admission were recorded during the late afternoon and night.

The triage code of admission appeared uniformly distributed along the week, with the highest prevalence of green code (67.7%), followed by yellow one (25.8%). The analysis of clinical symptoms and BAL highlights that moderate clinical severity concerns almost 50%, and clinically critical severity the 6.6% of cases of access.

Admissions rates of foreign patients resulted to be 3 times higher compared to those of natives when adjusted to demographic data.

Discussion: Social disadvantages such as foreign provenance and social difficulties as unemployment, low money intake, perception of loneliness, and dysfunction in family life were frequently identified in the sample. An exception was found within the youngest age group, where the AAI are mostly related to alcohol abuse during social outings over the weekend.

EDs play a crucial role in helping patients with AAI, but prevention of alcohol abuse though implementation of social and sanitary health policies on all ages (but especially among the youngest) is essential.


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