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PTD - 228

Test Directory - Ethanol


Alcohol, Ethyl Alcohol, Grain Alcohol

Clinical Indications

Rarely needed in the investigation of possible intoxication.
For urgent requests a serum osmolality is performed as this will reveal an unexplained osmolal gap in the presence of ethanol (and also other alcohols such as methanol, ethylene glycol).
Samples cannot be accepted for analysis of alcohol for legal purposes (e.g. drink driving). Information for patients on laboratories offering such a service is available.

Request Form

Combined Pathology Blood form (Yellow/Black)


On request and by agreement with the Consultant Biochemist.

Specific Criteria

Must be agreed with Consultant Biochemist. An urgent ethanol service is available for monitoring ethanol levels in treatment of ethylene glycol poisoning but this must be discussed with the laboratory.

Patient Preparation


None required.

Turnaround Time

Same day but only if agreed with Consultant Biochemist.




2 ml


Grey top (Fluoride oxalate tube)

Causes for Rejection

Assay within previous month

Reference Range

The legal limit for driving a motor vehicle is 80 mg/dL blood.


An information sheet is available from National Poisons Service (Toxbase)

Lab. Handling

Processing: ALCU and store at 4C in the separating fridge (CB39) until analysis or NOALC and save.

Version 1.1 / July  2015                                                                                                         Approved by: Consultant Biochemist