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Detection of Alcoholism Among Burn Patients
Lawson Bernstein; Lawrence Jacobsberg; Theresa Ashman; Gloria Musagni; Cleon W. Goodwin; Samuel Perry
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Burn Center grant P50 GM26145.

New York Hospital Burn Center in New York City; Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

New York Hospital Burn Center in New York City

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

To determine the prevalence of alcoholism among patients at a large inpatient burn center, a semistructured interview for diagnosing alcoholism—the CAGE questionnaire—was administered. Of 124 patients interviewed, 24 (19 percent) were found to have an alcohol problem based on responses to the CAGE questionnaire. However, when patients' charts were reviewed at discharge, only seven of the 24 subjects were described as having an alcohol-related problem. Of the 22 subjects whose alcoholism was detected by the CAGE questionnaire and for whom blood alcobol screens had been obtained on admission, only seven had a positive screen. About 70 percent of the patients with alcoholism were missed by blood akohol screens on admission and by the usual procedures for gathering patient information on admission and during hospitalization. The study found that use of the CAGE questionnaire greatly increased the detection of alcoholism in burn patients.

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