Ethanol Vapor above Skin: Determination by a Gas Sensor Instrument and Relationship with Plasma Concentration

Authors

  • H.G. Giles PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
      Reprint requests: Dr. H.G. Giles, Addiction Research Foundation, 33 Russell Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2SI, Canada.
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  • S Meggiorini BSc,

    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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  • G.E. Renaud,

    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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  • J.J. Thiessen PhD,

    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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  • E.I. Vidins MD,

    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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  • K.V. Compton,

    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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  • V Saldivia BA,

    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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  • H Orrego MD,

    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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  • Y Israel PhD

    1. Addiction Research Foundation, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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  • This work was funded in part by the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation.

Reprint requests: Dr. H.G. Giles, Addiction Research Foundation, 33 Russell Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2SI, Canada.

Abstract

Studies with a new instrument show that blood ethanol concentrations in rats and humans can be estimated by measurement of ethanol vapor above the skin. After intravenous bolus administration of ethanol (1 g/kg) to rats a novel device based on the Figaro sensor was placed above the animal's abdomen. Plasma and skin vapor ethanol concentrations, analyzed by gas chromatography and sensor, respectively, declined in parallel (r= 0.96). In healthy human subjects, plasma and skin vapor concentrations, measured on the palm, also declined in parallel after intravenous ethanol infusion (1 hr, 0.5 g/kg), r= 0.99. In 10 alcoholic liver disease outpatients attending clinic in whom plasma ethanol concentrations ranged from 32–304 mg/dl, the correlation of plasma ethanol determined directly by gas chromatography and indirectly by skin vapor analysis was slope = 0.93, intercept = 1.8, r= 0.94. In controlled studies, skin vapor measurements are comparable with breathalyzer determinations; they may be performed in situations where breathalyzer measurements are inconvenient or where continuous monitoring is desirable.

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