How high can blood alcohol levels get?

No anecdotal stories allowed.
Here’s proof of the highest alcohol level I’ve seen — 852. And this patient was up at the nurse’s station pounding his fist on the counter because we couldn’t get him a meal tray fast enough.
Has anyone seen an alcohol level higher than this?
So much for coroners who testify that alcohol levels over 400 are “lethal.”


18 Responses to “How high can blood alcohol levels get?”

  1. ERnursey says:

    That’s the mark of a well conditioned drinker right there. The ones that seize if they get under .30 :)

  2. Spook, RN says:

    I think I want to see what that feller’s liver looks like.

    The highest I ever seen was a walkie-talkie “320” admitted for “c/o nausea’. (D-uh!)

  3. William the Coroner says:


  4. shrimplate says:

    Did they drive themselves to the E.D.?

  5. Yay Puffles says:


  6. The nurses at Denver General told me during clinicals about a few really bad drunks that would seize if their etoh dropped below 600. One said that she had seen a guy still standing that had a level over 1,000.
    In any case, I was taught that etoh poisoning was a clinical diagnosis, not based upon lab results. But I am just a dumb retired Paramedic.
    Have a nice day! :)

  7. Wow…that is amazing. Must cost a lot to drink that much!

  8. 710 – announced to me after awakin with 580 – probably lithunian record!

  9. Nurse K says:

    Hm. The dilantin is therapeutic…good for when he starts to hover around the 0.25 area.

  10. 911doc says:

    my advice to this patient. NEVER STOP DRINKING! if he does he will rapidly go in to withdrawal and seizures and will likely die from it. hand him a gallon of vodka out the door.

  11. beajerry says:

    You gotta work hard at drinkin’ to get a number like that.

  12. thedjinn says:

    Can’t believe these numbers

  13. Matt G says:

    I’ve never seen above .40 in my life, and I’ve busted a lot of drunks. I’ve never even met a cop who’s gotten a verifiable .4 or better.

  14. Steve says:

    730 walkie talkie in med school in Louisville a few years back…

  15. amanda says:

    we had one that was 1020. the level came back a while after we intubated him…

  16. Marie says:

    My brother is in ICU tonite with a BAL of 430..My mom called me over to say something was wrong. I am a CCU RN…and he was in resp failure breathing 4 times per min, unable to swallow his own secretions, unable to speak, follow directions, make sense or have any comprehensible speech, and could not move his arms or legs. His left pupil was completely dilated and the right was at about a 4. Had he been home alone he would have died. He had been on a 5 day binge, and has been drinking pretty heavy the last two years. In all my years as a nurse, I have never ever seen anything like this nor have I seen anyone with a level this high. I cannot even fathom a level of 700-1000????? CRAZY!

  17. Chris says:

    I work in the E.D. of a hospital in Denver, and I used to be a counselor in detox. I personally have seen many many episodes of patients in the .500 range, but in old medical records from one of our “frequent flyers” the highest I have personally seen is a .826! THe huy died a few weeks after this episode when he was hit by a train while intoxicated. Not a very glamorous death for sure…

  18. Would that be the one that stepped in front of the train at 88th Ave Chris? If so, he was indeed a frequent flier. I picked him up several times…

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