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Self-Assessment Detects Alcohol Abuse in Pre-Op Patients

Better than anesthesiologists' preoperative assessment

THURSDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- A computer-based self-assessment is much better than anesthesiologists at detecting alcohol abuse among preoperative patients, according to a report in the August issue of Anesthesiology.

Miriam J. Kip, M.D., and colleagues from Charite Universitaetsmedizin Berlin in Germany compared the prevalence of alcohol-use disorders based on a computerized self-assessment of alcohol-use disorders with preoperative detection by anesthesiologists who reviewed the charts of 1,556 patients.

The researchers found that the self-assessment detected a significantly higher prevalence of alcohol-use disorders than the anesthesiologists did (18.1 versus 6.9 percent). Detection by anesthesiologists was higher for men and the elderly, the report indicates. On detecting an alcohol-use disorder, anesthesiologists' main action was primarily to determine the quantity of alcohol consumed.

"The computer-based self-assessment increases detection rates of alcohol-use disorders in busy settings [such as] a preoperative assessment clinic," Kip and colleagues conclude. "Best-practice guidelines for detection of alcohol-use disorders are not implemented in the daily clinical routine. Barrier analysis is urgently required."

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