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Alcohol screening scores and the risk of new-onset gastrointestinal illness or related hospitalization.

Lembke A, Bradley KA, Henderson P, Moos R, Harris AH. Alcohol screening scores and the risk of new-onset gastrointestinal illness or related hospitalization. Journal of general internal medicine. 2011 Jul 1; 26(7):777-82.

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BACKGROUND: Excessive alcohol use is associated with a variety of negative health outcomes, including liver disease, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and pancreatitis. OBJECTIVE: To determine the 2-year risk of gastrointestinal-related hospitalization and new-onset gastrointestinal illness based on alcohol screening scores. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Male (N = 215, 924) and female (N = 9,168) outpatients who returned mailed questionnaires and were followed for 24 months. MEASUREMENTS: Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test-Consumption Questionnaire (AUDIT-C), a validated three-item alcohol screening questionnaire (0-12 points). RESULTS: Two-year risk of hospitalization with a gastrointestinal disorder was increased in men with AUDIT-C scores of 5-8 and 9-12 (OR 1.54, 95% CI = 1.27-1.86; and OR 3.27; 95% CI = 2.62-4.09 respectively), and women with AUDIT-C scores of 9-12 (OR 6.84, 95% CI = 1.85 - 25.37). Men with AUDIT-C scores of 5-8 and 9-12 had increased risk of new-onset liver disease (OR 1.49, 95% CI = 1.30-1.71; and OR 2.82, 95% CI = 2.38-3.34 respectively), and new-onset of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (OR 1.28, 95% CI = 1.05-1.57; and OR 2.14, 95% CI = 1.54-2.97 respectively). Two-year risk of new-onset pancreatitis in men with AUDIT -C scores 9-12 was also increased (OR 2.14; 95% CI = 1.54-2.97). CONCLUSIONS: Excessive alcohol use as determined by AUDIT-C is associated with 2-year increased risk of gastrointestinal-related hospitalization in men and women and new-onset liver disease, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and pancreatitis in men. These results provide risk information that clinicians can use in evidence-based conversations with patients about their alcohol consumption.

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