Gastric bypass surgery (also called bariatric surgery) is a procedure that drastically reduces the size of the stomach which has a dramatic effect when consuming alcohol. Gastric bypass surgery results in alcohol moving much more quickly from the stomach into the small intestine. 80% of alcohol is absorbed in the small intestine, this surgery results in a much higher peak BAC than with the equivalent amount of alcohol consumed before the surgery. Due to these anatomical and physiological changes, drinking after gastric bypass surgery is similar to drinking on an empty stomach but creates an even higher peak BAC because there is almost no opportunity for the alcohol to begin to break down before entering the bloodstream. Some experts say that a better comparison would be to equate gastric bypass alcohol consumption with direct intravenous introduction.
Another factor involves how the alcohol is metabolized. When alcohol is consumed approximately 20% of the initial metabolization occurs in the stomach. The stomach produced gastric alcohol dehydrogenase which acts to “break down” the alcohol before it moves on to the small intestines. “According to one study, alcohol metabolism was significantly different between the bypass patients and the control group who had no stomach surgery. The bypass patients had a greater peak alcohol level, and it also took them longer to reach zero or no alcohol. The difference in peak BAC is significant. The bypass patients were at .08 or unlawful when the control group only had a BAC of just.05.2 The difference is significant. Contact the Law Offices of Mark Deniz, APLC to get the best possible outcome at (858) 751-4384.
Studies have shown that gastric bypass patients often find it difficult to adjust to physical and psychological changes after the procedure. An increased risk of depression, alcoholism, and other substance abuse issues for this patient population led researchers to take a more in-depth look at how these patients metabolize alcohol after the procedure. The results of this unique demonstration of alcohol metabolism changes in gastric bypass patients showed that patients who underwent a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) operation had considerably higher breath alcohol content (BAC) and took significantly more time to return to a sober state after drinking, compared with BAC levels tested prior to having their procedure.
The studies demonstrated that peak BAC after drinking five ounces of alcohol was greatly increased after the operation. “BAC was 0.024 percent at pre-operation and 0.059 percent (p = 0.0003) at three months. Tested again at six months post-operation, the patients’ BAC was 0.088 percent (p = 0.0008) which is more than the legal driving limit of .08 percent.” Id. Obviously, if a person who has had gastric bypass (also called bariatric surgery) decides to drink they should take their body changes into account prior to finding themselves in a position where they drive an automobile. In 2011, the American College of Surgeons issued a press release reporting that patients who underwent a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) operation had a considerably higher breath alcohol content based on the same amount of alcohol consumed prior to the operation. Moreover, these patients took significantly more time to return to a sober state after the operation compared with alcohol levels tested prior to having the procedure.
How can this affect a San Diego DUI?
First, the procedure will affect how one metabolizes alcohol. This fact may change the calculations that are used when determining a person’s true BAC at the time of driving.
Next, any alcohol in a person who had the procedure will result in a large spike in BAC in a short amount of time. Again, think of it as a IV of alcohol going directly into the system. This can aid a rising blood alcohol defense. Bariatric surgery can be part of a successful DUI defense.
Hire a Proactive, affordable, and quality defense when you are facing San Diego DUI charges. Whether you have been charged of a San Diego DUI, Poway DUI, La Mesa DUI, Santee DUI, Mission Valley DUI, Clairemont DUI, Point Loma DUI, La Jolla DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Mira Mesa DUI, Pacific Beach DUI, Del Mar DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Encinitas DUI, Oceanside DUI, Escondido DUI, Vista DUI, San Marcos DUI, Carlsbad DUI, El Cajon DUI it is vital you need to hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case. Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation at (858) 751-4384.