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Alcohol consumption and hospitalisation burden in an adult Italian population

Epidemiological evidence on the impact of different alcohol drinking patterns on healthcare systems or hospitalisations is sparse. A study investigated how the different average volumes of alcohol consumed relate to all-cause and causespecific hospitalisations.

The prospective cohort study (baseline 2005-10) linked to a registry of hospital discharge records to identify hospitalisations at follow-up (Dec-2013). 20,682 individuals (48% men, age ≥35y) who participated in the Moli-sani Study and were free from cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline were included.

The alcohol volume consumed in the year before enrolment was classified as: lifetime abstainers, former drinkers, occasional drinkers and current drinkers who drank 1-12 (referent), 12.1-24, 24.1-48 and >48 gr/day of alcohol.

During a median follow-up of 6.3 years, 12,996 multiple hospital admissions occurred. In multivariable analyses, life-time abstainers and former drinkers had higher rates of all-cause (11% (95%CI: 5-17%) and 19% (2-31%), respectively) and vascular (14% (2-27%) and 48% (24-76%), respectively) hospitalizations compared with light alcohol consumers. Alcohol consumption >48 gr/day was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization for both alcohol-related diseases (74% (32-129%)) and cancer (36% (12-65%)). The magnitude of the association between heavier alcohol intake and hospitalisation tended to be greater in smokers than non-smokers. No associations were observed with hospitalisation for trauma or neurodegenerative diseases.

The authors conclude that moderate alcohol consumption appears to have a modest but complex reduced impact on the global hospitalisation burden. Heavier drinkers have a higher rate of hospitalization for all causes, including alcohol-related diseases and cancer, a risk that appears to be further magnified by concurrent smoking.

Source: Alcohol Consumption and Hospitalization Burden in an Adult Italian Population: Prospective Results from the Moli-sani Study. S Costanzo, KJ. Mukamal, A Di Castelnuovo, et al. Addiction, First published: 12 December 2018.

doi.org/10.1111/ add.14490
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