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Acute and usual drinking among emergency trauma patients: a study on alcohol consumption and injury patterns
  1. H Kuendig1,2,
  2. M Hasselberg1,
  3. G Gmel2,3,
  4. J-B Daeppen3,
  5. L Laflamme1
  1. 1
    Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of International Health, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2
    Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems, Lausanne, Switzerland
  3. 3
    Alcohol Treatment Center, Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland
  1. Dr H Kuendig, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Division of International Health, Nobels väg 9, SE 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; herve.kuendig{at}


Objective: To investigate the relationship between usual and acute alcohol consumption among injured patients and, when combined, how they covary with other injury attributes.

Methods: Data from a randomised sample of 486 injured patients interviewed in an emergency department (Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland) were analysed using the χ2 test for independence and cluster analysis.

Results: Acute alcohol consumption (24.7%) was associated with usual drinking and particularly with high volumes of consumption. Six injury clusters were identified. Over-representations of acute consumption were found in a cluster typical of injuries sustained through interpersonal violence and in another formed by miscellaneous circumstances. A third cluster, typical of sports injuries, was linked to a group of frequent heavy episodic drinkers (without acute consumption).

Conclusions: Among injured patients, acute alcohol consumption is common and associated with usual drinking. Acute and/or usual consumption form part of some, but not all, injury clusters.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: The study was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (3200B0-105967). HK is in receipt of a fellowship for prospective researchers provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant PBSKB-119860/1).

  • A previous version of this paper was presented at the 34th Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol, Victoria, Canada (June 2008).

  • Ethics approval: The study was approved by the Ethics Committee for Clinical Research at the Lausanne University Medical School.

  • ▸ A supplementary table is published online only at