Death From Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol intoxication may result in death owing to respiratory or circulatory failure or as a result of aspiration of stomach contents in the absence of a gag reflex. Levels of blood alcohol above 500 mg/100 mL are considered to be "probably fatal" (162), although survival at much higher concentrations is now well documented. In 1982, for example, the case of a 24-year-old woman with a blood alcohol level of 1510 mg/100 mL was reported. She had gone to the hospital complaining of abdominal pain and was noted to be conscious but slightly confused. Two days later, her pain had eased, her blood alcohol level fallen, and she was able to leave the hospital and return home (163).

Death associated with blood alcohol levels below 350 mg/100 mL suggests that other complicating factors are present. Most commonly, this will be an interaction between alcohol and some other drug that has also been ingested.

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