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Health risk behaviors and injured patients: an exploratory study
  1. C Degutis*,
  2. S Busch,
  3. M Pantalon,
  4. D Fiellin,
  5. P O'Connor,
  6. G D'Onofrio
  1. Correspondence Yale University, Department of Emergency Medicine 464 Congress Avenue, Suite 260 New Haven, CT 06519, USA


Objective To determine whether patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with injury were more likely to report risky health behaviours than pts without injury.

Methods Adult (age>18) patients with non-life-threatening injury or illness presenting to the ED were screened for following: alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise, seatbelt and helmet use.

Results 16 299 patients were screened; 5327 (33.5%) with injuries; 6868 (43.2%) male. Injured pts were significantly more likely to be male (36.4% vs 31.4%; p=0.000), younger (43.7 vs 46.1; 95% CI 1.85 to 3.10), drink alcohol (39% vs 36%; p=0.003); exercise regularly (57.9% vs 50.7%; p=0.000); and significantly less likely to wear a seatbelt regularly (33.6% vs 66.4%; p=0.000). There was no difference in reported cigarette smoking between injured and non-injured patients (66.9% vs 67.7%, p=0.331). There were no significant differences in drinking patterns (# of days of drinking per week, usual # of drinks per occasion, maximum # of drinks per occasion) between injured and non-injured patients.

Conclusions While there were differences in some health behaviours (alcohol consumption, exercise and seatbelt use) between injured and non-injured pts presenting to the ED, there were no differences in drinking patterns between injured and non-injured patients who reported any alcohol consumption. This supports the need to continue to screen for alcohol problems and provide interventions for all ED patients.

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