Alcohol Injuries

Alcohol and injuries study


In South Africa, the impact of alcohol use on trauma patients and the associated injury risks are often overlooked. The absence of routine measurements exacerbates the challenges faced by hospital trauma departments, necessitating practical, cost-effective, and accurate alcohol diagnostic tools for testing, surveillance, and clinical management. To address this gap, the Alcohol Diagnostic Validation for Injury-Related Trauma (AVIRT) study was initiated in 2023 with funding from the South African Medical Research Council.


Determine the type of information that will be useful for stakeholders in the trauma care and injury prevention sectors; to validate the efficacy of a selection of alcohol diagnostic tools; and to explore their feasibility for wider provincial or national implementation as a routine source of information on the alcohol-relatedness of injuries.

Research Methodology

The AVIRT study employs a comprehensive approach across three distinct work packages. Initially, Focus Group Discussions will engage key stakeholders from clinical, academic, policy, and operational domains to identify the specific alcohol-related information deemed valuable for stakeholders in injury prevention and healthcare sectors. Subsequently, a validation study will be conducted in a tertiary hospital trauma setting, comparing the effectiveness of various alcohol diagnostic tools such as clinical assessment, breath analysis, and finger-prick blood tests against standard enzyme immunoassay blood concentration analysis.

The final phase of the study involves testing selected alcohol diagnostic tools in a district hospital setting. Concurrently, community-based participatory research will be undertaken to assess the utility of these tools in real-world scenarios. The goal of the AVIRT study is to establish reliable and applicable alcohol diagnostic tools that can enhance the understanding and management of alcohol-related trauma in South African healthcare settings.


Photo Credit: Margie Peden

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