Gender differences in the performance of a computerized version of the alcohol use disorders identification test in subcritically injured patients who are admitted to the emergency department.

Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Charité University Medicine, Campus Mitte, Schumannstrasse 20/21, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research (Impact Factor: 3.31). 11/2004; 28(11):1693-701. DOI: 10.1097/01.ALC.0000145696.58084.08
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) has been recommended as a screening tool to detect patients who are appropriate candidates for brief, preventive alcohol interventions. Lower AUDIT cutoff scores have been proposed for women; however, the appropriate value remains unknown. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the optimal AUDIT cutpoint for detecting alcohol problems in subcritically injured male and female patients who are treated in the emergency department (ED). An additional purpose of the study was to determine whether computerized screening for alcohol problems is feasible in this setting.
The study was performed in the ED of a large, urban university teaching hospital. During an 8-month period, 1205 male and 722 female injured patients were screened using an interactive computerized lifestyle assessment that included the AUDIT as an embedded component. World Health Organization criteria were used to define alcohol dependence and harmful drinking. World Health Organization criteria for excessive consumption were used to define high-risk drinking. The ability of the AUDIT to classify appropriately male and female patients as having one of these three conditions was the primary outcome measure.
Criteria for any alcohol use disorder were present in 17.5% of men and 6.8% of women. The overall accuracy of the AUDIT was good to excellent. At a specificity >0.80, sensitivity was 0.75 for men using a cutoff of 8 points and 0.84 for women using a cutoff of 5 points. Eighty-five percent of patients completed computerized screening without the need for additional help.
Different AUDIT scoring thresholds for men and women are required to achieve comparable sensitivity and specificity when using the AUDIT to screen injured patients in the ED. Computerized AUDIT administration is feasible and may help to overcome time limitations that may compromise screening in this busy clinical environment.

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