Alcohol and/or drug abuse favors trauma recurrence and reduces the trauma-free period

Med Intensiva. Jan-Feb 2013;37(1):6-11. doi: 10.1016/j.medin.2012.04.010. Epub 2012 Jun 29.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Aim: A study is made of the influence of alcohol and/or drug abuse upon traumatismo recurrence, with an analysis of the influence of such abuse upon the time to appearance of first injury in patients without antecedents of trauma.

Design: A prospective observational study was made.

Setting: Trauma patients admitted to the Intensive care Unit (ICU) of a University Hospital.

Patients: Trauma patients admitted to the ICU.

Intervention: None.

Main measurements: Trauma recurrence was defined by a history of previous trauma requiring medical care. The presence of alcohol and other drugs of abuse were determined upon admission after severe trauma.

Results: Out of the 166 trauma patients admitted to the ICU during the study period, 102 (87 males) were included in the study. Some substance was detected in 51 patients (50%), most frequently in the males (48/87, p<0.02). The most frequently detected substance was alcohol (39%), followed by cannabis (12%) and cocaine (7%), while more than one substance was found in 10 patients (9.8%). Of the 102 patients, 42 were recurrent trauma cases, and 32 (76%) of them were substance-positive, while only 10 were substance-negative (p<0.001). Of the 60 patients without antecedents of trauma, 19 (32%) were substance-positive, and these were significantly younger (34.3±9 years) than the 41 subjects who were substance-negative (48±23 years) (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Alcohol and/or drug abuse increases the likelihood of recurrent trauma and may shorten the mean trauma-free period among patients without a history of trauma by almost 15 years.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*