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Defending Your DUI: The Gastric Bypass Defense

Dayton DUI Attorney Charles Rowland > DUI Law  > DUI Process  > Defending Your DUI: The Gastric Bypass Defense

Defending Your DUI: The Gastric Bypass Defense

gastric bypassGastric 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  This is a nearly 40% difference!” See Barone, Alcohol Metabolism Changes Considerably After Gastric Bypass Surgery.

According to the results of a new study in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, the dramatic changes that occur as a result of gastric bypass surgery can cause some people to overindulge when using alcohol thereby increasing their risk for a DUI. In effect, they exchange the vice of over-eating with the vice of over-indulging in alcohol.  As cited at by Science Daily (linked HERE):

Studies have shown that gastric bypass patients often find it difficult adjusting 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 were 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.

At DaytonDUI we work tirelessly to stay on top of any scientific trends which can help us defend our clients.  OVI Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can emailCharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

 Find gastric bypass information and other city-specific info at the following links:

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Charles Rowland


Charles M. Rowland II has been representing the accused drunk driver for over 20 years. Contact him at (937) 318-1384 if you find yourself facing a DUI (now called OVI) charge.

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