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INTERVENTION OF HEAVY DRINKING—A PROSPECTIVE AND CONTROLLED STUDY OF 438 CONSECUTIVE INJURED MALE PATIENTS

I. ANTTI-POIKA, E. KARAHARJU, R. ROINE, M. SALASPURO
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 115-121 First published online: 1 January 1988

Abstract

We studied 120 injured male patients of working age who were heavy drinkers or alcoholics, obtaining seven points or more in the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST). They were randomly allocated either to an intervention group (IG) or to a control group (CG). In addition to the MAST interview, the consumption of alcohol during the previous week prior to hospital admission was calculated and laboratory measures (serum GGT, ASAT and ALAT) were obtained. Counselling of the patients in the IG was carried out by a trained assistant nurse and a physician. Forty-nine patients in IG and 40 patients in , CG were re-examined after 6 months. In the IG 45% and in the CG 20% of the patients were improved (Chi square test, P<0.05) . Improvement criteria were a decrease in alcohol consumption by at least one-third and decrease of S-GGT by at least 20% during the follow-up period. In respect to the laboratory measures the groups were identical at the beginning of the study and after 6 months' follow-up. Our results are encouraging and suggest that the assessment of heavy drinking should be a routine in the treatment of alcohol-related injuries and that education and counselling must be intensive to be effective.