Alcohol Test - Results Interpretation

For medical testing, the concentration of ethanol in a sample can give an indication of the degree of intoxicationSymptoms and complications may vary significantly from person to person. But there are generally three main factors influencing an individual’s symptoms:

  •  general health
  • age
  • other medications or drugs he or she is taking

The ability to clear the alcohol out of the body also depends on the health and function of the person’s liver. For legal testing, results obtained are compared to legal allowable limits.

The table below lists some possible interpretations of blood ethanol results:

Blood Ethanol Result




Equal to or above 80 mg/dL (0.08%)


Legal intoxication in all states


80 to 400 mg/dL (0.08% to 0.40%)


Increasing impairment and depression of central nervous system likely


Above 400 mg/dL (>0.40%)


Loss of consciousness likely; potentially fatal


* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.