, Volume 82, Issue 12, pp 933-939

Munich Oktoberfest experience: remarkable impact of sex and age in ethanol intoxication

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Abstract

Approximately 5,000 of 6 million annual visitors of the Oktoberfest in Munich have to undergo medical treatment. Patients with alcohol intoxication without trauma or further complications are all treated in a specialized medical camp. We studied these patients in order to identify risk factors and to assess the relevance of the Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) and of ethanol blood concentrations for patient management. In 2004 totally 405 patients suffering from ethanol intoxication without trauma were treated in the medical camp. A complete set of the following data was obtained from all 405 patients: GCS, ethanol blood concentration, age, sex, blood pressure (mean, systolic and diastolic), body temperature, heart rate, blood sugar, GOT, γ-GT, and CK. A multivariate logistic regression model was applied to identify risk factors predicting patients at increased risk of hospitalization. Low GCS (≤8 vs. >8, OR: 4.18, CI: 1.96–8.65) low age (20–29 vs. ≥30 years, OR: 2.35, CI: 1.05–5.65) and male gender (male vs. female, OR: 3.58, CI: 1.36–9.34) independently predicted patients that had to be hospitalized. All other parameters including ethanol blood concentrations were not explanatory. Patients with GCS ≤ 8 (n = 66) had a lower median blood pressure (P = 0.0312) and showed a smaller increase in blood pressure during the observation period compared to patients with GCS > 8 (P < 0.001), suggesting that this subgroup may require longer recovery periods. Men aged 20–29 years were at highest risk for hospital admission. Increased risk could not be explained by higher ethanol blood concentrations in this subgroup. Importantly, GCS < 6 does not justify endotracheal intubation in ethanol intoxicated patients, when further complications, such as trauma, can be excluded.