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Blood alcohol linked with head trauma survival

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Patients with low to moderate blood alcohol levels may be less likely to die after arriving in hospital with a traumatic brain injury than those with no alcohol in their bloodstream, according to research.

Patients with low to moderate blood alcohol levels may be less likely to die after arriving in hospital with a traumatic brain injury than those with no alcohol in their bloodstream, according to research.

Although alcohol is a major risk factor for trauma, with between a third and a half of all hospitalised trauma patients being intoxicated at the time of injury, some studies suggest that alcohol may be neuroprotective.

Researchers studied 1,158 patients who were evaluated at a trauma centre between 1988 and 2003, who had blood alcohol levels measured when they were admitted.

Among 315 patients with low to moderate blood alcohol levels (0-230 milligrams per decilitre), 27.9% died. In the cohort of patients with no alcohol in their bloodstream, 36.3% died.

Archives of Surgery (2006) 141:1185-1191

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