The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Risk for Sepsis and ARDS

  • E. L. Burnham
  • M. Moss
  • G. S. Martin
Conference paper


Alcohol is the most frequently abused drug throughout the world, and alcohol-related problems are a common occurrence among patients admitted to hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs). Alcohol affects all tissues of the body. Its effects on immune function and the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) remain topics of active investigation. In regard to immune function, alcohol consumption alters the response at several points along the inflammatory cascade. Due to these potent modulating effects on immune function, alcoholic patients have an increased incidence and severity of infection, particularly in the lung. This association between alcohol use and infection is especially evident in the post-operative setting. Among patients with sepsis, a prior history of chronic alcohol abuse confers a significant increase in the likelihood of respiratory dysfunction and development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Chronic alcohol abuse similarly increases the mortality from ARDS. One possible mechanism by which chronic alcohol abuse may increase susceptibility to acute lung injury (ALI) is through alterations in pulmonary glutathione homeostasis. This chapter discusses the immunomodulatory effects of alcohol and the epidemiological and experimental evidence associating chronic alcohol abuse, sepsis, and the development of ARDS.


Acute Lung Injury Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Alveolar Type Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Patient Epithelial Line Fluid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. L. Burnham
  • M. Moss
  • G. S. Martin

There are no affiliations available

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