Methamphetamines in trauma: effect on injury patterns and outcome

J Trauma. 2009 Mar;66(3):895-8. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318164d085.


Background: The association of methamphetamine exposure and outcomes after trauma is not known.

Methods: This study included trauma patients who underwent alcohol and illicit drug screening. Patients who had a screen positive for Methamphetamine only [METH (+)] were compared with patients with a completely negative screen for illicit drugs or alcohol [TOX (-)]. Patients with polysubstance or alcohol abuse were excluded. Logistic regression was used to determine whether METH (+) status was independently associated with injury patterns or outcomes. Associations were further evaluated by patient matching with respect to age, gender, mechanism, injured body area abbreviated injury scores, and injury severity.

Results: There were 5,372 patients eligible where 526 (9.8%) were METH (+). On multivariate analysis, the METH (+) group had a significantly higher adjusted rate of intensive care unit (ICU) admission but there was no difference in mortality or complications or ICU stay. On matching, there was no difference in mortality (11.1% vs. 10.9%, p = 0.87), complication rate (5.6% vs. 4.2%, p = 0.40), and lengths of ICU and hospital stay but the METH (+) group had a higher rate of laparotomy.

Conclusion: Patients exposed to Methamphetamines do not have increased mortality or complications or lengths of ICU and hospital stay. However, they are more likely to require admission to the ICU.

MeSH terms

  • Abbreviated Injury Scale
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / mortality
  • California
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Laparotomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance Abuse Detection* / statistics & numerical data
  • Survival Rate
  • Utilization Review
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery
  • Young Adult


  • Methamphetamine