Respiratory System or Air Passages and Lungs

Sinusitis effects evidentiary breath testing such that results are erroneously elevated and do not represent the true blood alcohol level. This occurs due to at least two factors,
(1) the temperature elevation associated with an inflammatory response and
(2) the production of alcohol laden secretions that contaminate the breath specimen.

Sinusitis and the resultant inflammation leads to an elevation of local and core body temperature. An elevation of temperature is known to elevate the results on evidentiary breath testing. (Glyn R. Fox, PhD and John S. Hayward, PhD, Effect of Hyperthermia on Breath Alcohol Analysis, Journal of Forensic Sciences, JFSCA, Vol. 34, No. 4, July 1989, pp. 836-841.)

Sinusitis, or inflammation of the sinuses, results in the production of secretions. The significance of this is that these secretions are derived from blood and, as such, contain blood products as well as alcohol from the water content of blood at a concentration significantly greater than that of expired air. These secretions in the upper airways would contaminate the breath specimen prior to its presentation for analysis resulting in an erroneously elevated reading due to the presence of extraneous material. This is a form of pre-analytic error.

{Breath test}