Fifteen test subjects, 10 of whom were diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), were dosed with alcohol to BACs above 0.150 g/dL. Blood and breath assays taken at 20-min intervals for 8 h after dosing demonstrated close agreement between postabsorptive BAC and BrAC values. Three subjects exhibited elevated breath alcohol concentrations up to 0.105 g/dL during the absorptive phase that were apparently due to the passage of gastric alcohol through the lower esophageal sphincter not attributable to eruction or regurgitation. The effect of gastric alcohol was not consistently proportional to the amount of unabsorbed gastric alcohol. Absorption of alcohol in the esophagus explains the nonproportionality. Breath samples contaminated by GERD-related alcohol leakage from the stomach into a breath sample were found only when there was a high concentration of alcohol in the stomach. When contaminated breath samples were encountered, they were irreproducible in magnitude.
© 2015 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.