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Epidemiological and sociodemographic factors associated with complicated alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Rev Clin Esp. 2017 Oct;217(7):381-386


To analyse the influence of epidemiological and sociodemographic factors in complicated alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS).

Material and methods:

A multicentre, observational prospective study was conducted on consecutively added patients with AWS hospitalised in internal medicine departments. We recorded sociodemographic, epidemiological, clinical and progression data. Complicated AWS was defined as that which progressed with seizures or delirium tremens.


We studied 228 episodes of AWS in 219 patients. The mean age was 54.5 years (SD, 11.5), and 90.8% were men. AWS was the cause for hospitalisation in 39.9% of the patients. Some 27.1% of the cases presented seizures, and 32.4% presented delirium tremens. The daily quantity of alcohol ingested was 17.8 standard drink units (SD, 21.4), with 16.6 years of dependence (SD, 11.3). The pattern of alcohol abuse was regular in 82.8% of the patients. Some 38.4% of the patients were married or had a partner, and 45.6% had children. Some 72.7% of the patients were unemployed or retired. Some 68.5% had only completed primary studies. Some 4.8% consumed cannabis, 5.2% consumed cocaine and 3% consumed opioids. The independent variables related to complicated AWS were consumption of a drug other than alcohol (OR, 5.3; 95% CI 1.5-18.7), low education level (OR, 3.4; 95% CI 1.6-7.3) and hospitalisation for AWS (OR, 2.9; 95% CI 1.5-5.6). The model's receiver operating characteristic area was 0.718 (95% CI 0.643-0.793).


Concomitant drug abuse and a low educational level could help identify patients at risk of complicated AWS.

Rev Clin Esp. 2017 Oct;217(7):381-386

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