There is a growing effort to better characterize patient populations with extremely high ED usage, with the goal of developing effective interventions and delivering better care. A particularly challenging subset within this group includes those with alcohol use disorders, who we see frequently, but are not well defined in the literature.
With that in mind, I took part in a chart review (in press, made available online today @ JEM) looking at our institution's most frequent users over a period of 3 years, with specific concern for frequency of imaging studies and the associated findings. Bottom line - these patients are scanned all the time, and for good reason. All the more reason to recalibrate how we approach the paradox of treating a chronic disease like alcoholism in patients seen almost exclusively in an ED setting.