Journal Article

Comparison of Ethanol Concentrations in Blood, Serum, and Blood Cells for Forensic Application*

R.C. Charlebois, M.R. Corbett and J.G. Wigmore

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 20, issue 3, pages 171-178
Published in print May 1996 | ISSN: 0146-4760
e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/20.3.171
Comparison of Ethanol Concentrations in Blood, Serum, and Blood Cells for Forensic Application*

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Ethanol concentrations in serum (SAC) and whole blood (BAC) were determined for 235 subjects by a headspace gas chromatographic method. The SAC:BAC ratios ranged between 1.04 and 1.26. The mean was 1.14, and the normal distribution had a standard deviation (SD) of 0.041. When a conversion (division) factor for SAC to BAC of 1.18 (mean + 1 SD) was used, 84% of estimated BACs were less than that measured; the remaining estimates differed by less than 7 mg/dL. An SAC greater than 100 mg/dL reliably indicated a BAC of more than 80 mg/dL. Ethanol concentrations in blood cells (CAC) were similarly determined for 167 of these subjects. The CAC:BAC ratios ranged from 0.66 to 1.00 and had a mean of 0.865 and a negatively skewed normal distribution with an SD of 0.065. When a conversion (division) factor for CAC to BAC of 0.93 (mean + 1 SD) was used, 89% of estimated BACs were less than that measured; the remaining estimates differed by less than 8 mg/dL. A CAC greater than 80 rag/dL reliably indicated a BAC of more than 80 mg/dL. The CAC is useful in forensic practice when either blood or serum is not available.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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