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December 14, 1957


JAMA. 1957;165(15):1993-1994. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980330095023

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To the Editor:—  In the Oct. 12 issue of The Journal are two letters from correspondents commenting on our article "Erroneous Blood Alcohol Findings at Autopsy: Avoidance by Proper Sampling Technique," published in the July 6, 1957, issue of The Journal, page 1077.The first correspondent demonstrates clearly by his own studies, which he describes, that there is a considerably higher level of alcohol in heart blood over that found in the veins of the extremity of the same subject, soon after imbibing. That his findings support ours is quite gratifying. That he personally believes that our findings might be, in part, a normally expected arteriovenous difference soon after imbibing is interesting but of secondary importance. Since accepted standards for relating behavior or degree of intoxication to blood alcohol have been developed on living subjects from blood drawn from veins of an extremity, it is obviously erroneous to use heart blood,

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