Substance abuse in trauma and the anesthesia care provider

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The use of alcohol and other mood altering substances dramatically increases the risk that injury will occur, especially when combined with the attempted operation of a motor vehicle. Frequently these injuries are severe enough to require treatment at a trauma center, and when these patients require surgery for their injuries the anesthesia care provider must be able to identify the signs and symptoms of acute intoxication and/or withdrawal and separate these from those related to the patients underlying injury. The acutely intoxicated patient may present as more unstable than would be accounted for based on the severity of his/her injuries. The drugs that they have ingested frequently increase the risks of anesthesia and surgery. The addicted patient may go through withdrawal during the course of hospitalization, and this may be as life-threatening as the injuries. Drugs of abuse have distinct toxidromes and clinical presentations as well as the propensity to interact with anesthetic agents in sometimes unpredictable ways. In the trauma setting, the anesthesia care provider must possess a solid understanding of how recreational drug use by the trauma patient can alter the course of an anesthetic.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnesthesia for Trauma
Subtitle of host publicationNew Evidence and New Challenges
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781493909094
ISBN (Print)1493909088, 9781493909087
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • Addiction
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Intoxication
  • Methamphetamines
  • Substance Abuse
  • Trauma
  • Withdrawal


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