Teens admitted to a hospital for an alcohol-related injury are more likely to die within 10 years after being discharged, according to new research published in PLOS Medicine.  

Results from an analysis led by Annie Herbert of the University College London show that in England, risks of death after an adversity-related injury, including violent, drug- or alcohol-related, and self-inflicted injuries, were 61 percent higher in girls; boys were twice as likely to die within 10 years. These adolescents also have an increased risk of subsequent harm up to a decade later.

Adolescents often sustain adversity-related injuries. In England, a third of those admitted to the hospital for any injury have an adversity-related cause.

When intervention is involved, these hospitalizations for adversity-related injuries can be a teachable moment for 10- to 19-year-olds exposed to violence, drug and alcohol misuse, or self-harm, and can potentially reduce further harm. However, national guidance in England only recommends psychosocial interventions that deal with psychological and social development for those with self-inflicted injury. It's estimated that only 60 percent of these patients actually receive this assessment.

“These findings identify several risk factors that clinicians and service providers can use to identify those adolescents admitted to hospital with an injury who are at high or low risk of subsequent harm,” researchers wrote in the study. “Specifically, these findings suggest that the introduction of strategies for reducing subsequent harm after discharge should be considered for all types of adversity-related injury.”

In the study, researchers analyzed 15 years of hospitalization data from the National Health Service Admissions involving more than 333,000 adolescents with emergency admissions for adversity-related injury. One in 137 girls and one in 64 boys died within 10 years after being discharged, and 54 percent of girls and 40.5 percent of guys had emergency readmissions. These risks were highest in 18- to 19-year-olds, those with chronic conditions, such as mental behavioral or respiratory disorders, and those who lived in deprived areas.

“These findings justify extending national policy for psychosocial assessment after self-inflicted injury to all types of adversity-related injury,” researchers concluded.

Source: Herbert A, Gilbert A, González-Izquierdo A, Pitman A,  Li L. “10-y Reisks of Death and Emergency Re-admission in Adolescents Hospitalized with Violent, Drug- or Alcohol-Related, or Self-Inflicted Injury: A Population-Based Cohort Study. PLOS Medicine . 2015.