University of Oulu

Brain injury and hazardous alcohol drinking in trauma patients

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Author: Savola, Olli1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neurology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2004
Publish Date: 2004-06-11
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium 8 of Oulu University Hospital, on June 11th, 2004, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Professor Kaija Seppä
Docent Jukka Turkka


Head injury is the leading cause of death and disability in trauma patients, and alcohol misuse is often associated with such injuries. Despite modern diagnostic facilities, the extent of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is difficult to assess and supplementary diagnostic tools are warranted. The contribution of alcohol misuse to traumas also needs to be elucidated, as the role of different patterns of alcohol drinking in particular has received less attention.

We investigated the clinical utility of a novel serum marker of brain damage, protein S100B, as a tool for assessing TBI in patients with trauma. We also investigated the patterns of alcohol drinking among trauma patients and the trauma mechanisms in relation to blood alcohol concentration (BAC), with special emphasis on head traumas. Finally, we studied the early identification of hazardous drinkers among trauma patients.

Serum protein S100B was found to be a feasible supplementary method for assessing TBI, as the latter was shown to elevate its levels significantly, the highest values being found in patients with severe injuries. S100B was also found to be elevated in patients with mild head injury, where it was associated with an increased risk of developing post-concussion symptoms (PCSs). Extracranial injuries also increased S100B values in patients with multitrauma. Accordingly, S100B was not specific to TBI. The more severe the extracranial injury, the higher the S100B value that was found.

Binge drinking was found to be the predominant pattern in trauma patients. Alcohol intoxication on admission and hazardous drinking patterns were more often present in patients with head injury than in those with other types of trauma. The risk of sustaining a head trauma significantly increased with increasing BAC. The results also demonstrated that BAC on admission is the best marker of alcohol misuse in trauma patients. The BAC test depicts hazardous alcohol drinking better than conventional biochemical markers of alcohol misuse such as gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), or mean corpuscular volume (MCV) of erythrocytes.

The findings support the use of S100B as a supplementary method for assessing TBI and the use of BAC as a marker of alcohol misuse in trauma patients.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-7379-6
ISBN Print: 951-42-7378-8
Issue: 789
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2004. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.