Supported by the Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies.
Estimated Lethal Ethanol Concentrations in Relation to Age, Aspiration, and Drugs
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 8, Issue 2, pages 223–225, March 1984
How to Cite
Poikolainen, K. (1984), Estimated Lethal Ethanol Concentrations in Relation to Age, Aspiration, and Drugs. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 8: 223–225. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1984.tb05843.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Received for publication October, 1982; revised manuscript received April 20. 1983; accepted August 24, 1983.
In 98 deaths certified to be due to accidental alcohol poisoning, maximum antemortal blood ethanol concentrations were estimated as the sum of postmortal concentration and the product of blood ethanol elimination rate (0.258 g/liter/hr) and the time interval between the discontinuation of drinking and death. The estimated mean maximum concentration (g/liter) was 4.63 for uncomplicated cases, 4.26 for cases with heart disease, 3.98 for cases in which aspiration of stomach contents had contributed to death, 3.59 for ethanol-barbiturate poisonings, and 3.11 for combinations of ethanol and other psychotropic drugs. The mean for this last group was significantly lower than that for the first or the second group (p < 001). The mean concentration for ethanol-barbiturate poisonings was significantly lower than the mean for the uncomplicated cases (p = .01). In the two first groups combined, the higher the age, the lower the ethanol concentration (r = -.27; p = .02). Likewise, the postmortal blood ethanol concentration correlated negatively with age (r = -.26; p = .02), after controlling for the time interval. The lethal ethanol concentration for the aged seems to be lower than that for young people. A possible explanation for this phenomenon is the loss of ethanol tolerance.