Effect of alcohol consumption on outcome of pedestrian victims

Dietrich Jehle, Eric Cottington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of alcohol consumption on the severity of pedestrian injuries has not been studied extensively. In this retrospective study, we reviewed the cases of 143 pedestrian accident victims admitted to our trauma center during 1982 and 1983. Alcohol consumption was present in 30% of patients; 74% of them had blood alcohol levels of more than 100 mg/dL. There was a significant difference in age distribution (P < .001); the alcohol-related accidents peaked in the 25- to 34-year-old age group, and the nonalcohol-related accidents peaked in the less than 18- and more than 55-year-old groups. Mean Injury Severity Score (25.0 vs 17.8, P < .01) and mean length of stay (30.9 vs 17.2 days, P < .005) were significantly greater in the patients who had consumed alcohol. Those patients with ethanol in their blood had significantly more frequent injuries to the spine (25.6% vs 10%, P < .05) and the chest (32.6% vs 13%, P = .01). Overall mortality (11.6% vs 20%, P = .23) and mortality excluding emergency department deaths (11.6% vs 11.1%, P = .93) were not significantly different between the drinking and nondrinking groups. However, the ED mortality was higher in the nonalcohol group (0% vs 10%, P = .03). We conclude that pedestrian victims are commonly intoxicated and that chest and spine injuries are more common in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-956
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol
  • effect on pedestrians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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