Friday, January 15, 2021
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Risk of death higher for multiple emergency room visits linked to alcohol: study

Risk of death higher for multiple emergency room visits linked to alcohol: study
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TORONTO – A new study suggests people who visit a hospital emergency room at least twice in 12 months because of alcohol are more likely to die within a year.

Researchers at ICES and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found one in 20 people who ended up in hospital two or more times in a 12-month period for mental and behavioural issues related to alcohol died within a year of their first visit.

The risk of death was double for those who went to hospital five or more times.

The study looked at nearly 26,000 people in Ontario over the age of 16 who landed in the ER at least twice within a 12-month period between January 2010 and December 2016.

Of those, two-thirds went to hospital twice, 22 per cent went three or four times, and 12 per cent had five or more visits.

More than two-thirds of those with five or more visits were male, almost half were aged 45 to 64 years, and nearly 90 per cent lived in urban centres, with 40 per cent of those coming from the lowest-income neighbourhoods.

Senior author Dr. Paul Kurdyak, a scientist at CAMH and the non-profit research institute ICES, says frequent visits should signal the need to screen patients for problematic drinking and unmet social and health-care needs.

The majority of deaths were from accidental poisoning, suicide and trauma, as well as diseases of the digestive system.

The study was published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.

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