Background: Many patients seeking emergency care are under the influence of alcohol, which in many cases implies a differential diagnostic problem. For this reason early objective alcohol screening is of importance not to falsely assign the medical condition to intake of alcohol and thus secure a correct medical assessment. Objective: At two emergency departments, demonstrate the feasibility of accurate breath alcohol testing in emergency patients with different levels of cooperation. Method: Assessment of the correlation and ratio between the venous blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) measured in adult emergency care patients. The BrAC was measured with a breathalyzer prototype based on infrared spectroscopy, which uses the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in the exhaled air as a quality indicator. Result: Eighty-eight patients enrolled (mean 45 years, 53 men, 35 women) performed 201 breath tests in total. For 51% of the patients intoxication from alcohol or tablets was considered to be the main reason for seeking medical care. Twenty-seven percent of the patients were found to have a BAC of <0.04 mg/g. With use of a common conversion factor of 2100:1 between BAC and BrAC an increased agreement with BAC was found when the level of pCO2 was used to estimate the end-expiratory BrAC (underestimation of 6%, r = 0.94), as compared to the BrAC measured in the expired breath (underestimation of 26%, r = 0.94). Performance of a forced or a non-forced expiration was not found to have a significant effect (p = 0.09) on the bias between the BAC and the BrAC estimated with use of the level of CO2. A variation corresponding to a BAC of 0.3 mg/g was found between two sequential breath tests, which is not considered to be of clinical significance. Conclusion: With use of the expired pCO2 as a quality marker the BrAC can be reliably assessed in emergency care patients regardless of their cooperation, and type and length of the expiration.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 6 Feb 2015|
Bibliographical note© 2015 Kaisdotter Andersson et al.; licensee BioMed Central. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
- Blood alcohol concentration
- Breath alcohol concentration
- Emergency care patients
- Patient cooperation