JULIO 2010 N° 7 Volumen 8

Acute alcohol intoxication: characteristics of patients attending a tertiary hospital



1Nieves Domínguez Fernández, 2Agustín Pablo González Murillo, 3Emilio Pintor Holguín.


1Diplomada en Enfermería. Servicio Urgencias del Hospital Universitario “La Paz”. 2Licenciado en Antropología. Diplomado en Enfermería. Departamento de Enfermería de la Universidad Europea de Madrid.3Doctor en Medicina y Cirugía. Departamento de Especialidades Médicas de la Universidad Europea de Madrid.


Introduction: in the last two decades with the development of emergency services outside hospitals and the establishment of new regional hospitals in the Autonomic Community of Madrid, the number of alcohol intoxications to reach a tertiary hospital has gone down. We intend to identify the features of patients with alcohol poisoning attending a tertiary hospital (University Hospital La Paz).
Material and methods: a prospective, randomized study of patients with alcohol intoxication viewed in the University Hospital La Paz for a period of eight months (january to august 2009).
Results: 80 patients were included. The mean age was 31,9 (range 14-62) and 56.3% of the sample were male. A little more than half of these 80 patients (51,2%) had consumed alcohol in addition to illegal drugs (especially cocaine 11 patients) or drugs (benzodiazepines: 17 patients). The reason for going to the emergency service were symptoms of psychomotor agitation (27,5%), decreased level of consciousness (23,8%) or attempted self harm. Almost half (35) had psychiatric disorders (especially depressive or psychotic disorders). They arrived at the hospital by ambulance (50%), private vehicle (31,3%) and brought by the police (18,8%). Regarding treatment, most received fluid therapy, vitamin B1 (67,5%), and Flumazenil (22,5%).
Conclusions: a significant percentage of patients that arrive at a tertiary hospital for acute alcohol intoxication have multiple substance intoxication. The patients that only suffer alcohol intoxication tend to be very young people and are driven by friends or relatives for their convenience. The use of vitamin B1 may be not indicated in some cases.


alcohol intoxication; emergencytertiary hospital

Versión en Español


Intoxicación etílica aguda: características de los pacientes que acuden a un hospital terciario