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Keywords:

  • alcohol;
  • alcohol consumption;
  • alcohol price;
  • alcohol-related traumatic brain injury;
  • moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury;
  • outcome

Objective

Alcohol may be involved in 40–50% of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In Finland, the cutting of alcohol taxes by one third in 2004 resulted in a marked increase in per capita alcohol consumption. We investigated the consequences of increased alcohol consumption on the incidence of moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury among a defined population.

Material and methods

We identified all residents of Northern Ostrobothia with acute moderate-to-severe TBI admitted to Oulu University Hospital in 1999 and in 2007 as well as those who died on the scene without being admitted to the hospital. Alcohol involvement was recorded by similar methods and equally often during both years. Incidence rates were calculated as number of subjects per 100,000 population. Logistic regression was performed to determine which factors predicted fatal TBI and associated with alcohol-related TBI.

Results

No significant increase from 1999 to 2007 occurred in the incidence of alcohol-related moderate-to-severe TBIs among the population of Northern Ostrobothnia. The total number of alcohol-related TBIs were 61/135 (45.2%) in 2007 and 52/126 (41.3%) 1999. Fall-related TBIs were more frequent in 2007 than in 1999. Alcohol and older age predicted fatal outcome. Alcohol was significantly (P < 0.001) more often present in fatal TBIs (83/156, 53.2%) than in non-fatal TBIs (30/105, 28.6%). Male sex, fall, suicide, and assault significantly associated with alcohol-related TBI.

Conclusions

The reduction in alcohol prices and the concomitant increase in alcohol consumption did not increase the incidence of alcohol-related moderate-to-severe TBI.