UOC di Pediatria e Neonatologia, Ospedale Regionale di Lugano, Istituto Pediatrico della Svizzera Italiana
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Key words: Acute alcohol intoxication, Binge drinking, Adolescent, Prevention, Management
Background - Acute alcohol intoxication (AAI) is a growing phenomenon among adolescents
with severe individual and collective impact.
vObjectives - The aim of the study is to describe the presentation, the clinical and epidemiological manifestations and the follow-up of children and adolescents that presented to the paediatric ER and were diagnosed with AAI.
Materials and methods - Patients between 11 and 17 years of age, who presented to the paediatric ER of the Civico Hospital of Lugano (Switzerland) from 2008 to 2017 and were diagnosed with AAI, were enrolled in the study. All patients were invited to undergo a brief interview with a psychologist and a paediatrician 4-6 weeks after the alcohol abuse in order to introspectively analyse the event and to place emphasis on the secondary prevention purpose.
Results - Data from 120 patients with AAI diagnosis were analysed. 112 of these patients were enrolled in the study. 57.1% of the patients were females. Mean age of the patients was 17.7 years. Mean alcohol blood levels were 1.8 g/l. 10.7% of the patients experienced traumatic injury following alcohol abuse. 5.4% of the patients required intensive care unit admission. In 10% of the cases concomitant toxicological urinary screening was positive for abuse of drugs.
Conclusions - The collected data seem to confirm the tendency that in the last few years young people, especially females, anticipate their first approach to alcohol consumption. There is a strong increase in the “binge drinking” phenomenon, namely the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time meant to get inebriated. Postabuse counselling, performed on a regular basis in the present study, seems to play an important educative and preventive role in limiting future alcohol consumption.
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