July 23, 2008
Pre-Surgery Alcohol Abuse Not Detected
Alcohol use disorders are often overlooked in patients undergoing surgery although alcohol use can increase complication risk, German researchers said.
Anesthesiologist Dr. Claudia D. Spies and her research group at Charite-Universitaetsmedizin Berlin studied 1,556 surgical patients and found a trend of missed opportunities in identifying those at risk.
However, Spies said a computerized self-assessment tool, the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test, or AUDIT, can result in more than twice as many patients with alcohol use disorders being identified compared to the standard preoperative interview.
Part of AUDIT's success -- when compared to physicians' interviews alone -- may be due in part to physicians' lack of training in preoperative screening for alcohol use and also the more anonymous nature of the computerized test itself, Spies said.
The findings are published in the journal Anesthesiology.