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Open Access Research article

Fatal alcohol intoxication in women: A forensic autopsy study from Slovakia

Lubomir Straka1*, Pavol Zubor2, Frantisek Novomesky1, Frantisek Stuller1, Jozef Krajcovic1, Karol Kajo3 and Jan Danko2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Forensic Medicine and Medical Expertises, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, University Hospital, Kollarova 10, 036 01 Martin, Slovak Republic

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin, Slovak Republic

3 Department of Pathology, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin, Slovak Republic

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:924  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-924

Published: 14 December 2011

Abstract

Background

Plenty of information related to alcoholism can be found in the literature, however, the studies have mostly dealt with the predominance of male alcoholism and data related to addiction in women are desperately scarce and difficult to find. Basic demographic data focusing on the impact of acute alcohol intoxication on the circumstances of death and social behaviour in the alcohol addicted female population are needed especially in the prevention of alcohol related mortality.

Methods

A retrospective forensic autopsy study of all accidental deaths due to alcohol intoxication over a 12-year period was performed in order to evaluate the locations, circumstances, mechanisms and causes of death.

Results

A sample of 171 cases of intoxicated women who died due to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) equal to or higher than 2 g/kg was selected. Among them 36.26% (62/171) of women died due to acute alcohol intoxication (AAI). We noted an increase in the number of deaths in women due to AAI from 2 in 1994 up to 5 in 2005 (an elevation of 150% between the years 1994-2005). The age structure of deaths in women due to BAC and AAI followed the Gaussian distribution with a dominant group of women aged 41-50 years (45.16% and 35.09% respectively). The most frequent place of death (98%) among women intoxicated by alcohol was their own home. The study suggests a close connection between AAI and violence against women.

Conclusions

The increasing number of cases of death of women suffering from AAI has drawn attention to the serious problem of alcoholism in women in the Slovak Republic during the process of integration into "western" lifestyle and culture.

Keywords:
Alcohol; Intoxication; Women; Autopsy