Research Reports - The effect of blood alcohol level and preinjury chronic alcohol use on outcome from severe traumatic brain injury in hispanics, anglo-Caucasians, and african-americans

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2012 Sep;27(5):361-9

Oʼdell KM, Hannay HJ, Biney FO, Robertson CS, Tian TS

OBJECTIVE: : To examine (a) ethnic differences in blood alcohol level (BAL) and
preinjury chronic alcohol use (PI-ETOH) within a severe closed head injury (CHI)
sample and (b) the main and interaction effects of BAL, PI-ETOH, and ethnicity on
functional outcome following severe CHI.
PARTICIPANTS: : A total of 434 Hispanic, Anglo-Caucasian, and African-American
individuals with severe CHI.
DESIGN: : Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: : Consecutive admissions to a level 1 trauma center.
MAIN MEASURES: : After admission to the trauma center, BAL was collected for each
patient. Additional information regarding PI-ETOH was collected in a subset of
patients (N = 116). Functional outcome was measured using the Disability Rating
Scale (DRS) at 6 months after injury.
RESULTS: : A one-way analysis of variance revealed ethnic differences in mean
BAL. Hierarchical multiple regression indicated that BAL did not predict DRS
outcomes after controlling for pertinent covariates. An interaction effect
between PI-ETOH and ethnicity was observed, such that presence of chronic alcohol
use predicted worse functional outcome for Anglo-Caucasians and
African-Americans, but more favorable outcome for Hispanics.
CONCLUSIONS: : Ethnic differences in BALs within our severe traumatic brain
injury sample mirrored ethnic drinking patterns observed in the general
population, with Hispanics having the highest BALs. A paradoxical relationship
between PI-ETOH and functional outcome was observed for Hispanics.

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