Get access

Alcohol consumption after laryngectomy


Helge Danker, Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Leipzig, Philipp-Rosenthal-Straße 55, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.
Tel.: 0049341/9715407; Fax: 0049341/9715419; e-mail:


Clin. Otolaryngol. 2011, 36, 336–344

Objective:  The aim of the study was the analysis of drinking behaviour in laryngectomised patients and its concomitants in quality of life and mental health.

Study design:  Multi-centered cross-sectional study.

Participants and setting:  Two hundred and twenty-five laryngectomised patients were asked to participate in the study. One hundred and seventy nine patients (80%) were interviewed after laryngectomy at six different ENT clinics in Germany.

Main outcome measures:  ‘Questionnaire of Health Behaviour’ (FEG), ‘Short Questionnaire of Alcohol Risk’, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Hornheider Questionnaire (HFB), Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) and the Quality of Life Questionnaires of the European Organization of Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) (EORTC QLQ-C30, EORTC QLQ-H & N35).

Results:  Alcohol dependence was found in 7% of the patients. Half of the respondents showed a constant consumption of alcohol with 6% of the patients who wanted to change their consumption. Patients with alcohol dependence indicated in comparison with non-dependent persons increased anxiety (p = 0.03), problems in coping with illness (p = 0.03), increased psychosocial care needs (p = 0.02), fatigue (p = 0.04), shortness of breath (p = 0.04), diarrhoea (p = 0.02) and a worse emotional functioning level (p = 0.03). Alcohol intake was independent of tumour stage (p = 0.48), employment status (p = 0.54), social class (p = 0.82), the time interval since laryngectomy (p = 0.64) and type of voice substitute (p = 0.76). The quality of life and mental state were independent of the amount of alcohol consumed.

Conclusions:  The results show that alcohol dependence is associated with adverse psychosocial and medical consequences, which require treatment. Socio-demographic and medical parameters do not allow any conclusions to alcoholism risk. Therefore, an individual exploration of the patients’ drinking behaviour is needed, which could prepare the ground to specific treatment.