Positive Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) Protective against Trauma Patient Mortality

The relationship between positive blood alcohol levels (BAL) and mortality at a Level 1 trauma center was examined by performing a retrospective review of adult patients age 18 and older.

Among the 7,985 patients, 8% had a positive BAL. Those patients had a 1% mortality rate whereas those with no alcohol in their blood had a 7% death rate. After adjusting for age, Injury Severity Score (ISS) and mechanism of injury, a positive BAL remained protective against death.

The researchers concluded that "a positive BAL was associated with a decreased mortality risk in trauma patients, which persisted after adjusting for multiple confounding variables."

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Sources:

  • Yaghoubian, A., et al. Elevated blood alcohol level may be protective of trauma patient mortality. American Surgeon, 2009, 75(10), 950-953.

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