Research Article| Volume 17, ISSUE 3, P150-153, May 1986

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Alcohol and traumatic brain damage

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      Many head-injured patients have been drinking alcohol, and it has been suggested that the effect of a raised blood alcohol may be to potentiate brain damage after head injury. To investigate this, a study was carried out on 38 consecutive, recently head-injured patients admitted to the Glasgow Neurosurgical Unit. Conscious level, blood alcohol and serum creatine kinase BB (CKBB) were measured on admission (the latter by radioimmunoassay). Conscious level related strongly to outcome (χ2 = 11.678, P < 0.001), and serum CKBB (χ2 = 8.333, P < 0.01) but not to blood alcohol level. In patients with severe head injury admitted to a neurosurgical unit, coma is more likely to be due to the injury than to the blood alcohol level, and alcohol does not adversely affect outcome in such patients.
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