The Particulars: Research indicates that patients with recurrent ED visits for trauma represent an important target for injury prevention efforts. If has not been well defined whether a history of alcohol use at initial trauma-related visits predicts risk of recurrent injuries.

Data Breakdown: A chart review of patients with ED visits for trauma who were screened for alcohol risk found that high-risk drinkers had a greater likelihood of a return visit for trauma (odds ratio, 2.45) than low-risk drinkers. High-risk drinkers also had a greater number of subsequent ED visits, were more likely to return to the ED, and had more return visits to the ED when compared with low-risk drinkers. The authors also found that high-risk drinkers were more likely to have a subsequent ED visit requiring hospital admission for management of a traumatic injury within 24 months.

Take Home Pearls: Trauma patients with high-risk drinking behaviors appear to be more likely to return to the ED within 24 months of the initial visit. They also have a greater likelihood of subsequent trauma-related hospital admissions within 2 years and have more trauma-related ED visits when compared with patients with low-risk drinking behaviors.