Trends of Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium in the Last Decade: Analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample

Hisham Laswi, Bashar Attar, Robert Kwei, Pius Ojemolon, Ebehiwele Ebhohon, Hafeez Shaka


Background: Alcohol use disorder, high-risk drinking, and emergency visits for acute and chronic complications of alcohol use have been increasing in the USA recently. Approximately half of patients with alcohol use disorder experience alcohol withdrawal when they reduce or stop drinking. Though alcohol withdrawal is usually mild, 20% of patients experience more severe manifestations such as hallucinations, seizures, and delirium. In this study, we utilized the Nationwide Inpatient Sample to examine the trends of alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD) in the period 2010 - 2019.

Methods: This was a retrospective longitudinal trends study involving hospitalizations with AWD in the USA from 2010 to 2019. We searched the databases for hospitalizations using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes (291.0 and F10231). We involved all hospitalizations complicated by AWD and hospitalizations with AWD as the principal diagnosis for admission. We excluded hospitalizations involving patients under the age of 18. We calculated the crude admission rate and the incidence of AWD per million adult hospitalizations during each calendar year. In addition, we analyzed trends of inpatient mortality, length of stay (LOS), and total hospital charges (THC).

Results: The incidence of AWD per million hospitalizations increased from 2,671.8 in 2010 to 3,405.6 in 2019, with an annual percentage change (APC) of 3.1% (P < 0.001). Similarly, AWD admission rate per million hospitalizations increased from 1,030.3 in 2010 to 1,556.0 in 2019, with an average APC of 5.0% (P < 0.001). There were statistically significant trends of increasing inpatient mortality, THC, and LOS over the studied period. In general, female gender, younger age, and Black race were associated with better clinical outcomes.

Conclusions: Our study showed an increase in the incidence and admission rates of AWD. Mortality, LOS, and THC increased over the studied period. Younger age, female gender, and Black race were associated with better clinical outcomes.

Gastroenterol Res. 2022;15(4):207-216


Alcohol withdrawal delirium; Alcohol; Withdrawal; Trends; Nationwide Inpatient Sample

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