FRIDAY, Oct. 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Assessing the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption may be inadequate for identifying alcohol-related problems in women who have undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery, according to a study published online Oct. 11 in the Annals of Surgery.

Gretchen E. White, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues performed a prospective cohort study to determine the sensitivity and specificity of potential thresholds of alcohol use for identifying alcohol-related problems in women post-RYGB. Before surgery and annually for seven years after surgery, participants completed the 10-item Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), which assesses past-year frequency and quantity of alcohol, frequency of consuming six or more drinks, and alcohol-related problems.

The researchers found that post-RYGB, 835 women reported current drinking at one or more annual assessments. Drinking at least two times per month had the highest combined sensitivity (85.3 percent) and specificity (61.4 percent) for identifying alcohol-related problems compared with higher frequency thresholds. Drinking three or more drinks per drinking day had the highest combined sensitivity (64.2 percent) and specificity (87.2 percent) compared with higher quantity thresholds. An AUDIT-Consumption score ≥3 had the highest combined sensitivity (76.4 percent) and specificity (81.6 percent) compared with other thresholds.

“Our findings indicate that although patients steadily increase their alcohol consumption in the years following surgery, common screening tools are ineffective at identifying those at high risk of alcohol-related problems,” White said in a statement.

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