Alcohol intoxication is a serious public health issue that frequently affects emergency department patients (ED). For a study, researchers sought to determine how accurately emergency department patients’ blood alcohol levels were assessed by clinicians.

At a Level 1 Trauma Center, the prospective survey research was carried out. Medical professionals who cared for patients with BAC, including doctors, nurses, and medical students, qualified to participate in the study. Before the release of data, the BAC was approximated by the clinician.

The mean difference between estimated and actual blood alcohol levels (BAC) among 243 medical professionals was 17.4 (95% CI: 4.7 to 30.1). The providers frequently overestimated the real BAC levelted by the providers. The difference in accuracy between attendings, residents, nurses, and students was insignificant (ANOVA P-value 0.90). Patient age was not linked with accuracy (Pearson correlation 0.04, P-value 0.54). Patient gender (Student’s t-test two-tailed P-value 0.90), ethnicity (White vs. all others, t-test P-value 0.31), nor insurance (government versus not the government, t-test P-value 0.81), or other factors were not linked to accuracy. The manner of arrival was connected to the average accuracy value (t-test P-value 0.003). In comparison to ambulance arrivals, the average accuracy for walk-in individuals was -14.9 (CI: -32.8 to 3.1) compared to ambulance arrivals, 28.3 (CI: 12.7 to 44.0). Providers overestimated BAC for ambulance arrivals and underestimated BAC for walk-in patients. Clinician estimates for 107 individuals with a BAC of 0 varied from 0 to 350. 17% of patients with BACs of 0 (N = 18) had non-zero BAC levels, according to clinical estimates.

Clinicians frequently overestimated the BAC and made inaccurate BAC estimates.

Reference: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735675722006817