Development of a rating scale to predict the severity of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Alcohol Alcohol 2006 Nov-Dec;41(6):611-5. Epub 2006 Sep 16.

Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics, Psychotherapy, JW Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.

Aim: Various factors that may influence the severity of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) have been identified. We tested the predictive value of these factors compiled in a newly developed scale, LARS (Luebeck alcohol withdrawal risk scale).

Method: A total of 100 individuals (81 males, 19 females, mean age: 47.6 +/- 9.9 years) consecutively transferred to inpatient detoxification were included in this prospective study. All fulfilled the ICD-10 criteria for alcohol dependence. The LARS was applied at the time of admission. The course of the AWS was assessed by AWS-scale at least every 4 h. The maximum AWS-score was taken as indicator of the severity of AWS.

Results: The mean AWS-score(max) was 6.5 +/- 3.3. In all 20% of the patients developed a severe AWS (AWS-score(max) > or =10). The maximum score usually occurred within 36 h after the last drink. A short version, the LARS11, was developed by statistically grounded item reduction. The optimal cut-off of the LARS11 was calculated as 10. The positive predictive value for severe AWS was 76%, while the negative predictive value was 98.7%. The sensitivity and specificity were high (95 or 92.5%, respectively).

Conclusion: LARS11 assessed immediately before detoxification appears to provide a useful estimate of mild/moderate versus severe AWS, and is now ready to be validated in an independent sample.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agl068DOI Listing
February 2007

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