Title
Blood alcohol testing : comparison of the performance obtained with the different methods used in the Belgian external quality assessment schemes
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Publication type
article
Publication
Berlin ,
Subject
Pharmacology. Therapy
Source (journal)
Clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine. - Berlin
Volume/pages
42(2004) :1 , p. 57-61
ISSN
1434-6621
ISI
000189074900011
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
This study describes the performance of the different methods used for blood alcohol analysis by the Belgian laboratories participating in the external quality assessment scheme. The best performance was achieved by the gas chromatography (GC) and the enzymatic methods. The enzymatic methods are easier to use but more apparatus-dependent, whereas GC methods display higher precision, especially at concentrations near the critical legal limit of 0.5 g/l. The study highlights the need to introduce a methodology other than the chemical oxidation-based method of Casier, the sole legal method for forensic analyses in drinking-driving cases in Belgium. This method with poor intra-laboratory, inter-laboratory and linearity performances has definitely become obsolete. Even though GC clearly appears as the method of choice, mainly due to its higher specificity, the present study also shows the need for practical guidelines to improve the quality of GC alcohol analyses used in Belgium.
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