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Alcohol, drug misuse and suicide attempts: unrecognised causes of out of hospital cardiac arrests admitted to intensive care units

Abstract

Aim

To assess the contribution of alcohol, drug abuse and suicide attempts to out of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) who are admitted to our intensive care unit (ICU).

Methods

Retrospective review of all OHCA admitted to the ICU over a 2-year period.

Results

There were 26 OHCA. Six patients survived, all of whom had a cardiac aetiology for their arrest. Ten patients arrested due to external factors (drug misuse n = 4, alcohol excess n = 1, suicide attempts n = 4 and accidental choking n = 1). All of the patients who arrested secondary to external factors were young (37.2 ± 13.58 years), 90% were male and all died in hospital. All of the cases of drug misuse involved cocaine.

Conclusion

Alcohol, drug misuse and suicide attempts contribute significantly to the number of OHCA which are admitted to ICU. Moreover, cocaine usage has contributed to a number of OHCA in our study.

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Correspondence to A. M. McLaughlin.

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McLaughlin, A.M., Hardt, J., McKay, A.P. et al. Alcohol, drug misuse and suicide attempts: unrecognised causes of out of hospital cardiac arrests admitted to intensive care units. Ir J Med Sci 178, 29 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-008-0242-z

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Keywords

  • Out of hospital cardiac arrest
  • Drug misuse
  • Suicide attempt
  • Intensive care unit
  • Cocaine
  • Alcohol