Lab Test

Alcohol (ETOH)

Ethyl Alcohol, blood alcohol, ETOH, Ethanol Level

Test Codes

Antrim #17251, EPIC: LAB5005, ETOH

Department

Chemistry

Specimen Collection Criteria

FOR EC AND INPATIENT SAMPLE COLLECTION ONLY:

Preferred Sample:  One Light Green Top Plasma Separator Tube (PST)(Minimum Whole Blood: 4.0 mL)

Acceptable Sample:  One Gold Top SST (Minimum Whole Blood:  4.0 mL)

FOR PHYSICIAN OFFICE/OUTREACH SAMPLE COLLECTION:

COLLECT:  One Gold Top SST (Minimum Whole Blood:  4.0 mL) 

Also acceptable: One plain Red-top tube.

  • Record the exact time of specimen collection on the tube or in the computer system.

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

  • Red-top Tubes: Let specimen clot 30 minutes then centrifuge and immediately remove serum from cells, because ethanol will be degraded by red blood cells. Transfer serum to a plastic transport tube and refrigerate (2–8°C or 36–46°F).
  • Gold-top SST Tubes: Let specimen clot 30 minutes then centrifuge immediately to remove serum from cells. Do not uncap. Refrigerate (2–8°C or 36–46°F) the centrifuged collection tube prior to transport.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Serum aliquot or centrifuged SST tube, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F).

Rejection Criteria

  • Severely lipemic or hemolyzed specimens will not be tested by enzymatic methods.
  • Centrifuged Red-top and SST specimens left uncapped for a period longer than 4 hours should not be analyzed. (Capping and uncapping is unavoidable and does not constitute an uncapped event).

In-Lab Processing

Let specimen clot 30 minutes then centrifuge immediately to separate serum from cells. Deliver immediately to the appropriate testing station. Do not leave serum on cells, because ethanol will be degraded by red blood cells.

Storage

Specimen Stability for Testing:

Red-top Tubes
Room Temperature (20–26°C or 68–78.8°F): 24 hours
Refrigerated (2–8°C or 36–46°F): 72 hours
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Centrifuged SST Tubes
Room Temperature (20–26°C or 68–78.8°F): 24 hours
Refrigerated (2–8°C or 36–46°F): 72 hours
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Serum Specimens (Pour-Overs)
Room Temperature (20–26°C or 68-78.8°F): 24 hours
Refrigerated (2–8°C or 36–46°F): 7 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 7 days

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Refrigerated (2–8°C or 36–46°F): 7 days

Laboratory

Canton Chemistry Laboratory
Dearborn Chemistry Laboratory
Farmington Hills Chemistry Laboratory
Grosse Pointe Chemistry Laboratory
Livonia Main Laboratory
Lenox Main Laboratory
Royal Oak STAT Laboratory
Troy Chemistry Laboratory
Taylor Chemistry Laboratory
Trenton Chemistry Laboratory
Wayne Chemistry Laboratory 

Performed

Sunday – Saturday, 24 hours a day.
STAT results available within 1 hour of receipt in the Laboratory.
Routine results available within 4 hours.

Reference Range

0-10 mg/dL.

Test Methodology

Enzymatic (Alcohol Dehydrogenase).

Interpretation

Ethanol will be consumed by red blood cells unless immediately removed from the cells or drawn in a tube containing an enzyme inhibitor. Interference from common volatile alcohols is negligible.

Clinical Utility

This assay is used to document prior consumption or administration of ethanol. Ethanol is the single most important abused substance in the U.S. Ethanol is found in beer, wine, and other liquors. Ethanol depresses cerebral functions similar to general anesthetics. Symptoms of ethanol abuse may include impaired thought, clouded judgment, and changed behavior. Blood ethanol levels correlate directly with the degree of intoxication.

CPT Codes

80320 (alternate: G0480).
LOINC: 5643-2

Contacts

Last Updated

5/18/2022

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