The saliva strip test is an accurate method to determine blood alcohol concentration in trauma patients

Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Aug;11(8):885-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2004.tb00775.x.


Objectives: To determine the accuracy of alcohol saliva testing (AST) in trauma patients.

Methods: Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was measured by using both AST (QED A350; STC Technologies, Bethlehem, PA) and blood serum levels in 100 trauma patients admitted to the emergency department of an urban Level 1 trauma center.

Results: All 41 patients who tested positive for BAC on AST (mean [+/-SD]: 167.9 +/- 16.16; range: 20-350 mg/dL) also tested positive on serum determination (mean: 197.6 +/- 13.79; range: 22-446 mg/dL). Correlation between the two positive tests was significant (0.879, p < 0.001). Of the remaining 61 patients, 59 tested negative on both tests, while two patients with BACs of <30 mg/dL tested negative on the AST. For 18 patients with blood in the oropharynx, there was a correlation of 0.976 (p < 0.001, two-tailed) between serum and AST tests.

Conclusions: The AST method of measuring BAC in trauma patients is accurate. Blood in the oral cavity did not appear to affect the accuracy of the test.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / metabolism*
  • Ethanol / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / instrumentation*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / metabolism


  • Ethanol