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A study of ethyl glucuronide in post-mortem blood as a marker of ante-mortem ingestion of alcohol



A study of ethyl glucuronide in post-mortem blood as a marker of ante-mortem ingestion of alcohol



Forensic Science International 165(1): 41-45



The possibility of post-mortem production of ethanol makes correct interpretation of ethanol detection in forensic autopsy samples difficult. Even though the levels of ethanol formed post-mortem are generally low, this may be highly relevant in cases where intake of alcohol was forbidden, for instance for pilots, professional drivers and countries with low legal alcohol limits for driving. Different criteria are used to determine whether a finding of ethanol is of exogenous origin, but there is no marker for alcohol ingestion that has been studied in detail. In this study, we wanted to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of ethyl glucuronide (EtG), a direct minor metabolite of ethanol, measured in blood, as a marker of ante-mortem alcohol ingestion. Forensic autopsy cases were divided into groups with and without ante-mortem alcohol ingestion, according to strict inclusion criteria. In 93 cases with information on ante-mortem alcohol ingestion, EtG was detected in blood in all cases, even when levels of ethanol were low. In another 53 cases where there were no indications of ante-mortem alcohol intake, EtG could not be detected in blood in a single case, also in 11 cases in which ethanol was detected and considered to be most probably formed post-mortem.In conclusion, blood EtG determination seems to be a reliable marker of ante-mortem ingestion of alcohol, and it could be considered in forensic autopsy cases when post-mortem formation of ethanol is questioned.

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Accession: 012940077

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 16564658

DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2006.02.045



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