Open Access
Alcohol intoxication and post-burn complications
Mashkoor A Choudhry1,Irshad H Chaudry1
Center for Surgical Research, Department of Surgery, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
DOI: 10.2741/1857 Volume 11 Issue 1, pp.998-1005
Published: 01 January 2006
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in systemic inflammatory response)

Results from the studies discussed in this article suggest that alcohol (EtOH) intoxication is a major public health problem. While the effects of injury and EtOH intoxication independent of each other have been studied in detail, only few studies have evaluated the effect of a combined insult of EtOH intoxication and burn injury on host defense. An analysis of the studies conducted in the clinical setting suggests that intoxicated patients require frequent intubations, experience delayed wound healing and longer hospital stay. Furthermore, there is a greater risk of mortality in these patients compared to those who sustained injuries in the absence of EtOH intoxication. On the other hand, there are a few studies that do not support this notion. The results obtained in experimental models clearly suggest that acute EtOH intoxication before burn injury impairs host defense and increases susceptibility to infection. Additionally, experimental data from our laboratory also indicate that EtOH intoxication before burn injury suppresses intestinal immune defense, impairs gut barrier functions and increases bacterial growth. This results in increased bacterial translocation in EtOH and burn injury. In addition, a decrease in cardiac function is also reported following a combined insult of EtOH intoxication and burn injury. Altogether, these findings suggest that EtOH intoxication before burn injury diminishes host resistance resulting in increased susceptibility to infection. Moreover, the findings of a higher incidence of infectious complications in burn and trauma patients who sustained injury in the presence of EtOH compared to those in its absence suggest that EtOH intoxication at the time of injury is a risk factor. Therefore blood EtOH should be monitored in burn/trauma patients at the time of admission in the emergency room.

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Mashkoor A Choudhry, Irshad H Chaudry. Alcohol intoxication and post-burn complications. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2006. 11(1); 998-1005.