The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Crystal L. Dunlevy, Sarah Varekojis, Georgianna Sergakis; School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

BACKGROUND: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. More than 90% of alcohol consumed by people under the age of 21occurs in the form of binge drinking, and the proportion of binge drinkers is highest in the 18 to 20-year old age group. Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency resulting from high blood alcohol levels that suppress the central nervous system. Signs and symptoms include loss of consciousness, hypotension, hypothermia, and respiratory depression, any of which may cause death. Each year on college campuses nationwide, > 150,000 students develop alcohol-related health problems. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of alcohol poisoning awareness among undergraduate students enrolled at OSU, more specifically, whether students were aware that it is important to monitor the respiratory rate (RR) of someone who has had too much to drink and to know the number of breaths/minute that necessitates a 911 call. METHODS: 207 undergraduate students participated in 15 focus groups conducted in residence halls, Greek houses, and random locations across campus. Focus groups elicited responses to eight questions developed by a group of respiratory therapy students and faculty, and evaluated by undergraduate students and faculty from various disciplines in order to determine content validity. Responses were summarized. RESULTS: 81% of students reported being worried about the safety of a friend who had consumed too much alcohol; 51% would wait to call 911 even if they thought that their friend needed medical intervention. While 72% of students reported that they have checked the RR of a friend who had too much to drink, 89% were unaware that a RR < eight breaths/minute should prompt a 911 call. CONCLUSIONS: Undergraduate students should be made of both the importance of monitoring RR when alcohol poisoning is suspected and the number of breaths/minute that should prompt a 911 call. Sponsored Research - None