Hospital patients who are alcoholics have an increased risk of dying in the hospital, a new study finds.
Researchers looked at about 12 years of data from more than 23,000 hospital patients with alcoholism and a "control group" of more than 233,000 hospital patients without the disorder.
All of the patients were in various general hospitals in Manchester, England.
One in five of the patients with alcoholism died while in the hospital, compared with one in 12 patients in the control group, according to the study.
Additionally, the researchers found that, on average, those with alcoholism were likely to be about eight years younger when they died than people without a drinking problem.
The study was published online recently in the journal European Psychiatry.
The researchers pointed out that alcoholics are more likely to have liver, respiratory, nervous system, gastrointestinal and pancreatic illnesses than other patients.
"Patients with addiction problems are often admitted to hospitals as emergency cases. At the time of diagnosis, priority is then given to the acute symptoms -- this may contribute to the fact that not all physical illnesses are recorded," study author Dieter Schoepf, of the department of psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University of Bonn Hospital in Germany, said in a university news release.
The findings show the need for earlier and more intensive treatment for patients with alcoholism, the researchers concluded.
-- Robert Preidt