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Acute and usual drinking among emergency trauma patients: a study on alcohol consumption and injury patterns


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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