The relationship of blood alcohol concentration to impairment severity in spinal cord injury

Martin Forchheimer, Rebecca M. Cunningham, David R. Gater, Ronald F. Maio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the relationship between blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and severity of neurological impairment. Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study. Participants: Subjects with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI; N = 119) with dates of injury between 1991 and 2000 who received their acute treatment at a midwestern Model SCI Care System and for whom information regarding BAC was available. Analysis: Main outcome measure: severity of neurological impairment. Data were analyzed using χ2 tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results: A significant association was observed between impairment severity and BAC. Conclusions: The study suggests that alcohol consumption is associated with severity of SCI. A more rigorous study controlling for trauma attributes is necessary to confirm these results and appraise whether alcohol has a potentiating effect on impairment. If borne out, the study's findings may lead to alterations in emergency room procedures and to changes in public health and education efforts resulting from a reframing of the issue of safe consumption of alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-307
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology


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