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Search Plan and Results


What is the relationship between alcohol intake and unintentional injury? (DGAC 2010)

Date Searched


Inclusion Criteria

  • January 1, 2004 to January 13, 2010
  • Human subjects
  • English language
  • International
  • Sample size: Minimum of 10 subjects per study arm; preference for larger sizes, if available
  • Dropout rate: Less than 20%; preference for smaller dropout rates
  • Ages: Adults of legal drinking age (21 years and older)
  • Populations: Healthy, those with elevated chronic disease risk, those diagnosed with the highly prevalent chronic diseases (CHD/CVD, hypertension, type 2 diabetes,  osteoporosis, osteopenia and obesity) and those with breast cancer, colon cancer or prostate cancer.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Medical treatment or therapy
  • Diseased subjects (exceptions noted)
  • Malnourished or third-world populations or disease incidence not relative to US population (e.g., malaria)
  • Animal studies
  • In vitro studies
  • Articles not peer reviewed (websites, magazine articles, Federal reports, etc.).


Search Terms & Electronic Databases Used

(ethanol OR alcoholic OR alcohol's OR alcohol) AND ("unintentional injuries" OR "unintentional falls")

("Wounds and Injuries"[Mesh] OR "Accidents"[Mesh:NoExp] OR “Accidental Falls”[mh] OR “Accidents, Home”[mh]) AND ("Alcohol Drinking/adverse effects"[Mesh]

("Accidents"[majr:NoExp] OR “Accidental Falls”[majr] OR “Accidents, Home”[majr]) AND "Alcohol Drinking"[majr])

("Ethanol"[Mesh] OR "Alcoholic Beverages"[Mesh]) AND ("Accidents"[majr:NoExp] OR “Accidental Falls”[majr] OR “Accidents, Home”[majr])

("Ethanol"[majr] OR “Alcohol Drinking”[majr] OR "Alcoholic Beverages"[majr]) AND (drowning[mh] OR Accidents, Occupational"[majr])

Total hits from all electronic database searches: 372

Total articles identified to review from electronic databases: 30

Articles identified via handsearch or other means:


Summary of Articles Identified to Review

Number of Primary Articles Identified: 19

Number of Review Articles Identified: 2

Total Number of Articles Identified: 21

Number of Articles Reviewed but Excluded: 9


List of Included Articles for Evidence Analysis


Driscoll TR, Harrison JA, Steenkamp M. Review of the role of alcohol in drowning associated with recreational aquatic activity. Inj Prev. 2004 Apr; 10(2): 107-113. Review. PMID: 15066977; PMCID: PMC1730083. 

González-Wilhelm L. Prevalence of alcohol and illicit drugs in blood specimens from drivers involved in traffic law offenses. Systematic review of cross-sectional studies. Traffic Inj Prev. 2007 Jun; 8(2): 189-198. Review. PMID: 17497523.

Primary Research

Bedford D, O'Farrell A, Howell F. Blood alcohol levels in persons who died from accidents and suicide. Ir Med J. 2006 Mar; 99(3): 80-83. PMID: 16700260.

Cherpitel CJ. Alcohol and injuries: A review of international emergency room studies since 1995. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2007 Mar; 26(2): 201-214. Review. PMID: 17364856.  

Driscoll TR, Harrison JE, Steenkamp M. Alcohol and drowning in Australia. Inj Control Saf Promot. 2004 Sep; 11(3): 175-181. PMID: 15764104.

Hall AJ, Bixler D, Helmkamp JC, Kraner JC, Kaplan JA. Fatal all-terrain vehicle crashes: Injury types and alcohol use. Am J Prev Med. 2009 Apr; 36(4): 311-316. Epub 2009 Feb 7. PMID: 19201149.

Hingson RW, Edwards EM, Heeren T, Rosenbloom D. Age of drinking onset and injuries, motor vehicle crashes, and physical fights after drinking and when not drinking. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009 May; 33(5): 783-790. Epub 2009 Mar 6. PMID: 19298330.  

Hingson RW, Zha W. Age of drinking onset, alcohol use disorders, frequent heavy drinking, and unintentionally injuring oneself and others after drinking. Pediatrics. 2009 Jun; 123(6): 1, 477-1, 484. PMID: 19482757.  

Johnston JJ, McGovern SJ. Alcohol-related falls: An interesting pattern of injuries. Emerg Med J. 2004 Mar; 21(2): 185-188. PMID: 14988344; PMCID: PMC1726307.

Kool B, Ameratunga S, Jackson R. The role of alcohol in unintentional falls among young and middle-aged adults: A systematic review of epidemiological studies. Inj Prev. 2009 Oct; 15(5): 341-347. PMID: 19805604.

Kool B, Ameratunga S, Robinson E, Crengle S, Jackson R. The contribution of alcohol to falls at home among working-aged adults. Alcohol. 2008 Aug; 42(5): 383-388. Epub 2008 Jun 17. PMID: 18562152.

Kurzthaler I, Wambacher M, Golser K, Sperner G, Sperner-Unterweger B, Haidekker A, Pavlic M, Kemmler G, Fleischhacker WW. Alcohol and benzodiazepines in falls: An epidemiological view. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2005 Aug 1; 79(2): 225-230. PMID: 16002031.  

Levy DT, Mallonee S, Miller TR, Smith GS, Spicer RS, Romano EO, Fisher DA. Alcohol involvement in burn, submersion, spinal cord, and brain injuries. Med Sci Monit. 2004 Jan; 10(1): CR17-CR24. PMID: 14704631.

McDonald AJ 3rd, Wang N, Camargo CA Jr. US emergency department visits for alcohol-related diseases and injuries between 1992 and 2000. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Mar 8; 164(5): 531-537. PMID: 15006830.

McLean R, Connor J. Alcohol and injury: A survey in primary care settings. N Z Med J. 2009 Sep 25; 122(1, 303): 21-28. PMID: 19851417.

Mukamal KJ, Mittleman MA, Longstreth WT Jr, Newman AB, Fried LP, Siscovick DS. Self-reported alcohol consumption and falls in older adults: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the cardiovascular health study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Jul; 52(7): 1, 174-1, 179. PMID: 15209658.

Rehm J, Patra J, Popova S. Alcohol-attributable mortality and potential years of life lost in Canada 2001: Implications for prevention and policy. Addiction. 2006 Mar; 101(3): 373-384. PMID: 16499510. 

Sorock GS, Chen LH, Gonzalgo SR, Baker SP. Alcohol-drinking history and fatal injury in older adults. Alcohol. 2006 Nov; 40(3): 193-199. PMID: 17418699.

Watt K, Purdie DM, Roche AM, McClure R. Acute alcohol consumption and mechanism of injury. J Stud Alcohol. 2006 Jan; 67(1): 14-21. PMID: 16536125.

Watt K, Purdie DM, Roche AM, McClure RJ. Risk of injury from acute alcohol consumption and the influence of confounders. Addiction. 2004 Oct; 99(10): 1, 262-1, 273. Erratum in: Addiction. 2004 Oct; 99(10): 1, 366. PMID: 15369564.

Yoonhee C, Jung K, Eo E, Lee D, Kim J, Shin D, Kim S, Lee M. The relationship between alcohol consumption and injury in ED trauma patients. Am J Emerg Med. 2009 Oct; 27(8): 956-960. PMID: 19857414.

List of Excluded Articles with Reason

Article Reason for Exclusion

Chen LH, Baker SP, Li G. Drinking history and risk of fatal injury: Comparison among specific injury causes. Accid Anal Prev. 2005 Mar; 37(2): 245-251. PMID: 15667810.

Study focused on fatal injury-mortality.

Elder RW, Shults RA, Swahn MH, Strife BJ, Ryan GW. Alcohol-related emergency department visits among people ages 13 to 25 years. J Stud Alcohol. 2004 May; 65(3): 297-300. PMID: 15222585.

Study looked at the prevalence of alcohol-related emergency department visits; no outcome measures were performed.

Fierro I, Yáñez JL, Alvarez FJ. Differences in alcohol-related mortality between foreign-born and native-born Spaniards. Int J Drug Policy. 2009 Sep 24. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 19782553.

Study outcomes are related to mortality of foreign-born vs. native-born Spaniards.

Hosking J, Ameratunga S, Bullen C, Civil I, Ng A, Rodgers A. Screening and intervention for alcohol problems among patients admitted following unintentional injury: A missed opportunity? N Z Med J. 2007 Feb 16; 120(1, 249): U2, 417. PMID: 17308554.

Outcome focused on alcohol interventions and not incidence of unintentional injury.

Matzopoulos R, Peden M, Bradshaw D, Jordaan E. Alcohol as a risk factor for unintentional rail injury fatalities during daylight hours. Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2006 Jun; 13(2): 81-88. PMID: 16707343. 

Outcome focused on railway injuries based on day of week and time of day.

Miller JR, Pikora TJ. Alcohol consumption among recreational boaters: Factors for intervention. Accid Anal Prev. 2008 Mar; 40(2): 496-501. Epub 2007 Aug 31. PMID: 18329399.

Outcome explored educational intervention and not incidence of unintentional injury.

Moriya F, Hashimoto Y. Postmortem production of ethanol and n-propanol in the brain of drowned persons. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2004 Jun; 25(2): 131-133. PMID: 15166764.

Study looked at post-mortem production of ethanol.

Norström T, Ramstedt M. Mortality and population drinking: a review of the literature. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2005 Nov; 24(6): 537-547. Review. PMID: 16361210. Narrative review.

Sindelar HA, Barnett NP, Spirito A. Adolescent alcohol use and injury. A summary and critical review of the literature. Minerva Pediatr. 2004 Jun; 56(3): 291-309. Review. PMID: 15252378.

Subjects aged 13 to 19.