Alcohol consumption, blood alcohol concentration level and guideline compliance in hospital referred patients with minimal, mild and moderate head injuries

Marianne E. Harr*, Ben Heskestad, Tor Ingebrigtsen, Bertil Romner, Pål Rønning, Eirik Helseth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In 2000 the Scandinavian Neurotrauma Committee published guidelines for safe and cost-effective management of minimal, mild and moderate head injured patients.The aims of this study were to investigate to what extent the head injury population is under the influence of alcohol, and to evaluate whether the physicians' compliance to the guidelines is affected when patients are influenced by alcohol.Methods: This study included adult patients (≥15 years) referred to a Norwegian University Hospital with minimal, mild and moderate head injuries classified according to the Head Injury Severity Scale (HISS). Information on alcohol consumption was recorded, and in most of these patients blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was measured. Compliance with the abovementioned guidelines was registered.Results: The study includes 860 patients. 35.8% of the patients had consumed alcohol, and 92.1% of these patients had a BAC ≥ 1.00‰. Young age, male gender, trauma occurring during the weekends, mild and moderate head injuries were independent factors significantly associated with being under the influence of alcohol. Guideline compliance was 60.5%, and over-triage was the main violation. The guideline compliance showed no significant correlation to alcohol consumption or to BAC-level.Conclusions: This study confirms that alcohol consumption is common among patients with head injuries. The physicians' guideline compliance was not affected by the patients' alcohol consumption, and alcohol influence could therefore not explain the low guideline compliance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalScandinavian journal of trauma, resuscitation and emergency medicine
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


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