Prevalence, Clinical Characteristics, and Risk Factors for Non-recording of Alcohol Use in Hospitals across Europe: The ALCHIMIE Study

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Abstract

Aim

To determine the detection rates, clinical features, and risk factors for lack of registration of alcohol use in medical patients admitted in European hospitals.

Methods

A point-prevalence, cross-sectional, multicenter survey involving 2100 medical inpatients from 43 hospitals from 8 European countries. Patients were screened for current alcohol use, using standardized questionnaires. Alcohol use recording in medical records was assessed.

Results

Of the 2100, more than a half reported alcohol use. Significant differences were shown in the prevalence of drinking and the recording rates of alcohol use among the hospitals and countries involved. Overall, 346 patients (16%) fulfilled criteria for alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use was registered in 909 (43%) of medical records, with quantification in 143 (7%). Multivariate analysis showed that women (OR 1.49), older age patients (OR 1.23), patients from the Northern European countries (OR 4.79) and from hospitals with high local alcohol prevalence (OR 1.59) were more likely to have lack of alcohol use registration in their medical files.

Conclusions

A considerable proportion of medical patients admitted in European hospitals fulfill criteria for alcohol use disorders. These patients are frequently overlooked during hospitalization and not appropriately registered in medical records. Women, older patients, and inpatients from European areas with high local alcohol use prevalence are at higher risk associated with a non-recording of alcohol use.

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