Diagnosis of alcohol ingestion in mild head injuries

Lancet. 1977 May 14;1(8020):1021-3. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(77)91256-9.


42 per cent of a consecutive series of patients with mild head injuries with concussion were found to have positive blood-alcohol tests. There were errors in the clinical diagnosis of alcohol ingestion among patients with both positive and negative blood-alcohols. Medicolegal questions have so dominated the problems of diagnosing alcohol ingestion as to prevent doctors considering its clinical importance. The value of a laboratory test giving an immediate reading is emphasised.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / blood
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / diagnosis*
  • Breath Tests
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / blood
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnosis*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Expert Testimony*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis


  • Ethanol