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25% of Scottish intensive care admissions alcohol related

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Alcohol problems account for a quarter of Scottish intensive care unit admissions, according to a study published online in the journal Anaesthesia.

The Scottish Intensive Care Audit Group surveyed all 24 ICUs in Scotland.

Of the 771 admissions made in one month, 25% were alcohol related.

Patients admitted with alcohol-related problems did not have significantly longer stay or death rates, but they did require a median level of two days’ ventilation, compared to one day for other patients.

A third of the alcohol related admissions were acutely intoxicated at the time of admission.

Study author Timothy Geary, an anaesthetic registrar at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow, said: “Nearly three quarters of those affected were male.

“Patients with alcohol problems tended to be significantly younger and admissions from deprived areas of the country were also more likely to be alcohol related,” he added. “Patients with alcohol problems also needed to be mechanically ventilated for longer.

“We estimate that, overall, alcohol related admissions cost intensive care units across Scotland £9m a year.”

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