Treatment Profile and 1-Year Mortality Among Nontraumatic Intensive Care Unit Patients With Alcohol-Related Health Problems

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Background:Long-term excessive use of alcohol leads to severe complications, which often require treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU). The aim of this study was to report on the associations between alcohol-related health problems and treatment profile, as well as 1-year mortality among patients with nontrauma-related ICU admissions.Methods:Information on the history of alcohol-related health problems or excessive alcohol use and ICU treatment was collected retrospectively from electronic medical records and ICU patient data management systems at Oulu University Hospital, Finland. Information on 1-year mortality was obtained from the Finnish Population Register Center.Results:According to the medical records, in a total of 899 admissions, 32.9% (n = 296) of patients had a history of alcohol-related problems. In the alcohol group, intoxications were more frequent and respiratory and cardiovascular causes were less frequent, compared to those without alcohol-related problems. Patients without alcohol-related problems had a higher rate of previous comorbidities compared with the alcohol group. There were no differences concerning age, severity of illness scores, length of stay, or intensive care outcome. Mortality during the 1-year follow-up was 32.8% in total: 35.1% among those without alcohol-related history and 28.0% in the alcohol group (P = .041). The difference in mortality appeared during the first month following admission and remained throughout the follow-up period. The highest 1-year mortality (59.3%) was observed among patients with alcohol-related liver disease.Conclusion:Every third patient admitted to ICU used alcohol excessively or had alcohol-related diseases, and those patients with alcohol-related liver disease had the poorest 1-year survival rate. We found higher long-term mortality in nonalcohol-related admissions, which can be explained by the case mix, including a lower rate of chronic diseases, such as malignancies and coronary artery disease, and a higher rate of low-risk admission diagnoses in the alcohol group.

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