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Low Acetaldehyde Levels in Blood, Breath and Cerebrospinal Fluid of Intoxicated Humans as Assayed by Improved Methods

  • A. Stowell
  • M. Hillbom
  • M. Salaspuro
  • K. O. Lindros

Abstract

A sensitive method for determination of human blood acetaldehyde (AcH), which avoids artefactual ethanol-derived Ach formation, was developed. AcH was trapped by collecting blood directly into isotonic semicarbazide, the plasma separated, AcH liberated by perchloric acid and analyzed by gas chromatography. Breath AcH was also trapped in semicarbazide and analyzed similarly. Using an experimentally determined blood:breath partition ratio of 190, calculated pulmonary blood and measured antecubital blood AcH were very similar at various concentrations. Blood AcH was found generally to be very low (< 10 μM) at moderate ethanol levels. Calcium carbimide (0.25 mg/kg) caused moderate flushing reactions and elevated AcH to 25–188 μM. 4-Methylpyrazole (5 mg/kg i.v.) rapidly attenuated AcH levels and symptoms, indicating its potential use in the treatment of disulfiram-ethanol reactions. AcH in the cerebrospinal fluid of 5 highly intoxicated patients was almost absent (0–5 μM). Blood AcH in occasional or chronic alcohol abusers were generally low (< 10 μM), elevated AcH levels being observed only in association with clinical abnormalities. The results indicate that in general, previously reported human blood AcH levels are erroneously high and that breath levels reflect blood levels. Blood AcH may play a lesser role in the actions of ethanol in humans than is often assumed.

Keywords

Ethanol Oxidation Acetaldehyde Concentration Breath Analysis Intoxicated Patient Blood Acetaldehyde 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Stowell
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Hillbom
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Salaspuro
    • 1
    • 2
  • K. O. Lindros
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Laboratories of the State Alcohol Monopoly (ALKO)Helsinki 10Finland
  2. 2.Department of Neurology and Division of Gastroenterology, 2nd Department of MedicineUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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