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Article
November 30, 1957

ERRONEOUS POSTMORTEM BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVELS

JAMA. 1957;165(13):1739. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980310091022

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  InIn the July 6 issue of The Journal, page 1077, appeared an article entitled "Erroneous Blood Alcohol Findings at Autopsy: Avoidance by Proper Sampling Technique," by Henry W. Turkel and Houghton Gifford, which presents a careful study with unwarranted conclusions. First of all, differences in the alcohol content of the arterial blood and the venous blood in the living person are to be expected and are well known. Venous blood from the femoral vein drains the muscles and connective tissue, while arterial blood (some of which was in the pooled blood of the pericardial sac) contains more alcohol since it has recently absorbed alcohol from the gastrointestinal system. Since it is the arterial blood which carries the alcohol to the brain, it is obvious that arterial blood alcohol determinations would ordinarily more accurately prophesy brain alcohol than the alcohol determination of venous blood. According to the data

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