Alcohol dependence and physical comorbidity: Increased prevalence but reduced relevance of individual comorbidities for hospital-based mortality during a 12.5-year observation period in general hospital admissions in urban North-West England.
Alcohol dependence (AD) is associated with an increase in physical comorbidities. The effects of these diseases on general hospital-based mortality are unclear. Consequently, we conducted a mortality study in which we investigated if the burden of physical comorbidities and their relevance on general hospital-based mortality differs between individuals with and without AD during a 12.5-year observation period in general hospital admissions. During 1 January 2000 and 30 June 2012, 23,371 individuals with AD were admitted at least once to seven General Manchester Hospitals. Their physical comorbidities with a prevalenceëÑ1% were compared to those of 233,710 randomly selected hospital controls, group-matched for age and gender (regardless of primary admission diagnosis or specialized treatments). Physical comorbidities that increased the risk of hospital-based mortality (but not outside of the hospital) during the observation period were identified using multiple logistic regression analyses. Hospital-based mortality rates were 20.4% in the AD sample and 8.3% in the control sample. Individuals with AD compared to controls had a higher burden of physical comorbidities, i.e. alcoholic liver and pancreatic diseases, diseases of the conducting airways, neurological and circulatory diseases, diseases of the upper gastrointestinal tract, renal diseases, cellulitis, iron deficiency anemia, fracture neck of femur, and peripheral vascular disease. In contrast, coronary heart related diseases, risk factors of cardiovascular disease, diverticular disease and cataracts were less frequent in individuals with AD than in controls. Thirty-two individual physical comorbidities contributed to the prediction of hospital-based mortality in univariate analyses in the AD sample; alcoholic liver disease (33.7%), hypertension (16.9%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (14.1%), and pneumonia (13.3%) were the most frequent diagnoses in deceased individuals with AD. Multiple forward logistic regression analysis, accounting for possible associations of diseases, identified twenty-three physical comorbidities contributing to hospital-based mortality in individuals with AD. However, all these comorbidities had an equal or even lower impact on hospital-based mortality than in the comparison sample. The excess of in-hospital deaths in general hospitals in individuals with AD is due to an increase of multiple physical comorbidities, even though individual diseases have an equal or even reduced impact on general hospital-based mortality in individuals with AD compared to controls.