alcohol (playing with numbers)

31 Oct

on a holiday where kids will toe the diabetes line, and adults will indulge in other things, here’s a little tidbit on alcohol.

 

HOW DOES SERUM ETHANOL LEVELS COMPARE WITH BAC (Blood Alcohol Content)?

  • its all about units (serum level usually mg/dL; BAC is g/dL)
  • move the decimal point 3 places to the left
  • e.g. serum ETOH level of 100g/dL = BAC 0.10 g/dL = 0.10% BAC

 

WHAT’S THE BAC LEGAL LIMIT (for a DUI)?

  • 0.08% BAC = 80mg/dL serum ETOH

 

HOW MUCH WILL A DRINK INCREASE MY ETOH LEVELS?

  • depends on your size and the size of the drink (handy reference chart)
  • standard drink is 1-1.5 oz shot of liquor, 5 oz glass of wine, 12 oz beer
  • guesstimation: most folks will get over the 0.08% BAC limit with 2-3 drinks or so

 

WHAT’S YOUR RECORD?

  • …from a patient you’ve seen (not asking for a personal best/worst. let us be discrete)
  • the most impressive serum ETOH: level I’ve seen is probably in the 500s, from a young girl who was sitting up, awake, chatty, and probably 50kg soaking wet.  most of us would be comatose at this point.

 

References: emedicine serum/BAC; more emedicine; BAC chart; DUI/DWI laws; picture

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