Blood, Urine, and Other Fluid and Tissue Specimens for Alcohol Analyses

This chapter describes that knowing the role that alcohol (ethyl alcohol, ethanol) plays is important in many social and legal situations. As a result, the determination of alcohol has undoubtedly been the most widely requested analysis in analytical toxicology. Alcohol tests are commonly conducted in specimens from both living and deceased persons. In either scenario, a decision must be made as to the type of specimen to be analyzed to facilitate the appropriate interpretation of the impact of alcohol in a particular case. Since alcohol affects the brain, a specimen that is reflective of the alcohol content of the brain is most useful. Because the blood compartment is in equilibrium with brain, the blood alcohol concentration is expected to best reflect the effects of alcohol on the brain. In view of the fact that the majority of tests will be conducted on living subjects, blood or a component of blood is most commonly used. In postmortem cases, the brain itself, among other specimens, becomes available; however, blood is still principally used since comparison to antemortem situations is often required. Blood, available with equal ease from living or deceased persons, becomes the most practical specimen; hence, the first step in the alcohol analysis is to obtain the proper blood specimens. It is important that the blood specimen, once drawn into a sterile vacuum tube, be properly handled until it reaches the laboratory for analysis.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, Incorporated

    P.O. Box 30040
    Tucson, AZ  United States  85751-0040
  • Authors:
    • Caplan, Yale H
    • Goldberger, Bruce A
  • Publication Date: 2008


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Edition: Fifth
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 202-215
  • Monograph Title: Garriott's Medicolegal Aspects of Alcohol

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01164942
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9781933264585
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 2 2010 11:16AM