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