Psychometric Properties of the Revised Clinical Institute Withdrawal Alcohol Assessment and the Brief Alcohol Withdrawal Scale in a Psychiatric Population

Raymond Julius Elefante, Marcelo Batkis, Archana Nelliot, Karen Abernathy, Kristi Rocha, Freddie Jenkins, Darius Anthony Rastegar, Karin Jane Neufeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Psychiatric illness complicates the assessment of alcohol and sedative withdrawal (ASW). This study measured the diagnostic characteristics of the Revised Clinical Institute Withdrawal Alcohol Assessment (CIWA-Ar) and the Brief Alcohol Withdrawal Scale (BAWS) compared with a reference standard in patients with psychiatric illness and evaluated their administration time. METHODS: This prospective quality improvement (QI) project conducted in November, 2016 evaluated 35 consecutive unique patients in psychiatric settings. Each patient was evaluated on 1 occasion, sequentially by 2 independent examiners with the CIWA-Ar and BAWS. A Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition diagnosis of ASW derived after medical record review by 2 psychiatrists blind to the screening results served as a reference standard. Psychometric properties of the CIWA-Ar and BAWS were measured against the reference. RESULTS: Nineteen (54%) patients had ASW diagnosis by the reference standard. The sensitivity (95% confidence interval [CI]) of the CIWA-Ar was 47% (25%-71%) at a cut-off score ≥8; sensitivity of the BAWS was 79% (54%-94%) at a cut-off score ≥3. Specificity (95% CI) for CIWA-Ar and BAWS was 88% (62%-98%) and 88% (62%-98%), respectively. Administration times (interquartile range) for the CIWA-Ar and BAWS were 120 (60-180) and 65 (50-75) seconds, respectively. Receiver operator characteristic area under the curve for CIWA-Ar was 0.77 and for BAWS was 0.76 (P = 0.86). CONCLUSION: Both instruments performed similarly in assessing for mild to moderate ASW in a sample of patients with psychiatric illness. The BAWS took 65 seconds to administer-almost half as much time as the CIWA-Ar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e355-e358
JournalJournal of addiction medicine
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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