Background: Alcohol use remains abundant in patients with traumatic injury. Previous studies have suggested that serum carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (%dCDT) levels, relative to blood alcohol levels (BALs), may better differentiate episodic binge drinkers from sustained heavy consumers in admitted patients with traumatic injury. We characterized %dCDT levels and BAL levels to differentiate binge drinkers from sustained heavy consumers in admitted trauma patients and their associations with outcomes. Methods: This prospective, cross-sectional, observational study assessed %dCDT and BAL levels in admitted male and female patients with traumatic injury (≥18 y) at an American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma level-1 center from July 2014 to June 2016. We designated patients with %dCDT levels ≥1.7% (CDT+) as chronic alcohol users and dichotomized acutely intoxicated patients using three different BAL-level thresholds. Primary outcomes included in-hospital complications, along with prolonged ventilation and intensive care unit length of stay, both defined as the top decile. Secondary outcomes included rates of drug or alcohol withdrawal and all-cause mortality. Analyses were adjusted for clinical factors. Results: We studied 715 patients (77.5% men, 60.6% ≤ 40 y of age, median Injury Severity Score: 14, 41.7% motor vehicle crashes, 17.9% gunshot wounds, 11.1% falls). While 31.0% were CDT+, 48.7% were BAL>0. After adjusting for CDT levels, BAL levels >0, >100, or >200 were not associated with adverse outcomes. However, CDT+ relative to patients with CDT were associated with complications (adjusted odds ratio: 1.96 [1.24-3.09]), prolonged ventilation days (3.23 [1.08-9.65]), and prolonged intensive care unit stays (2.83 [1.20-6.68]). Conclusions: In this 2-year prospective, cross-sectional, and observational study, we found that %dCDT levels, relative to BAL levels, may better stratify admitted patients with traumatic injury into acute versus chronic alcohol users, identifying those at higher risk for in-hospital complications.
- Blood alcohol level
- Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin
- Intensive care unit
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