Excessive alcohol consumption magnifies death risk in ICU patients admitted for infections
In critically ill patients admitted for infections, moderate levels of alcohol consumption appears to be a significant risk factor for death, a recent study has found.
Researchers conducted a prospective observational cohort study on 478 patients (56 percent male) admitted with documented infection. Alcohol consumption was measured through systematic interviews, and its effect on the study outcome―mortality at day 28―was evaluated.
Rates of ICU mortality were significantly higher in patients who drank >100 g per week than in those with lower levels of alcohol consumption (28 percent vs 18 percent; p=0.02). Conversely, survival at day 28 was significantly poorer in patients who drank more (p=0.03).
A Cox proportional hazard model found that even after adjustments for other comorbidities, such as serum lactate levels and treatment with vasopressors, alcohol consumption of <100 g per week remained a significant risk factor for mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.67, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.01–2.77; p=0.04).
In absolute terms, six women and 22 men who consumed >100 g of alcohol per week died within 28 days after ICU admission. No significant sex effect was found. Notably, 28 patients who stopped excessive drinking 6 months before admission saw no increase in the risk of 28-day mortality (HR, 0.83, 95 percent CI, 0.34–2.05; p=0.69).
Primary infection-related multiple organ failure was the most common cause of death, both in patients with low and high levels of alcohol consumption. This was followed by acute respiratory distress syndrome and disorders of the central nervous system.