Frequency of Hazardous and Binge Drinking Alcohol Among Hospitalized Cardiovascular Patients

Author Department

Cardiology; Medicine; Healthcare Quality

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Excessive alcohol use is a risk factor for most cardiac diseases. The prevalence of unhealthy alcohol use among hospitalized cardiac patients is uncertain as is the frequency with which it is addressed. We performed a single center, patient-level anonymous survey among hospitalized cardiac patients eligible for cardiac rehabilitation. Hazardous drinking was defined as an Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score of 8 or greater. Binge drinking was defined as 5+ drinks for men or 4+ for women on ≥1 occasion within the past 30 days. Unhealthy drinking was defined as either hazardous or binge drinking. Of 300 patients approached, 290 (96.7%) completed the survey. Mean ( ± SD) age was 69 ± 11 years; 70% were male and 31% were cardiac surgical patients. The proportion (95% CI) of hazardous, binge, and unhealthy drinking was 12% (9 to 16), 16% (12 to 20), and 18% (14-23), respectively. Overall, 58% of subjects reported being screened for alcohol use, mostly by nurses (56%). Those with unhealthy drinking reported being counseled more frequently about their alcohol use compared to non-unhealthy drinkers (11% versus 3%, p = 0.03), but the large majority (89%) of unhealthy drinkers reported receiving no advice about their alcohol use while admitted. In conclusion, almost one-fifth of hospitalized cardiac patients reported unhealthy drinking, these patients were only screened about half of the time, and were rarely counseled about their alcohol use.