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Distribution of Ethanol between Plasma and Erythrocytes in Whole Blood


WHEN capillary and venous blood samples were collected simultaneously from volunteers who had taken varying quantities of alcohol by mouth, certain discrepancies were noted in their alcohol content. Further investigation revealed that when added to human blood in vitro ethanol was distributed unevenly between the plasma and the red cells1. If a similar uneven distribution could be demonstrated in vivo when alcohol was absorbed from the gut, it might help to explain the differences between capillary blood and venous blood. It might also help to explain the observed discrepancies in the blood : breath ratios and urine : blood ratios reported by different authors.

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PAYNE, J., HILL, D. & WOOD, D. Distribution of Ethanol between Plasma and Erythrocytes in Whole Blood. Nature 217, 963–964 (1968).

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