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Bicycle crashes and alcohol in Finland

Summary: A study on bicycle crashes and alcohol in Finland

Alcohol Intake and the Pattern of Trauma in Young Adults and Working Aged People Admitted After Trauma

by Olli Savola
Department of Neurology, Oulu University Hospital, Finland

Onni Niemela
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Tampere University and Seinäjoki

Matti Hillbom
Central Hospital, Finland

Published online on May 3, 2005

© The Authors 2005. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Medical Council on Alcohol. All rights reserved

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Olli Savola olli.savola@oulu.fi


Aims: To investigate the relationship of different patterns of alcohol intake to various types of trauma. Methods: We examined the associations of alcohol consumption in a series of 385 consecutive trauma admissions (278 men, 107 women, age range 16-49 years). Patients underwent clinical examinations, structured interviews on the amount and pattern of alcohol intake, and measurements of blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Results: On admission, 51% of the patients had alcohol in their blood. Binge drinking was the predominant (78%) drinking pattern of alcohol intake. Assaults, falls and biking accidents were the most frequent causes of trauma. Dependent alcohol drinking and binge drinking were found to be significantly more common among patients with head trauma than in those with other types of trauma (77% vs 59%, OR = 2.38; 95% CI 1.50 to 3.77). The OR for sustaining head injury increased sharply with increasing BAC: 1-99 mg/dl (1.24; 95% CI 0.55-2.01), 100-149 mg/dl 1.64; 95% CI 0.71-3.77), 150-199 mg/dl (3.20; 95% CI 1.57-6.53) and >199 mg/dl (9.23; 95% CI 4.79-17.79).

Conclusions: Binge drinking is a major risk factor for head trauma among trauma patients. Assaults, falls and biking accidents are the commonest causes for such injuries. The relative risk for head injury markedly increases with increasing blood alcohol levels. Alcohol control measures should feature in policies aiming at the prevention of trauma-related morbidity and mortality.

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