Lab Test

Toxic Alcohol Screen, Serum

Methyl Alcohol, Ethyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Dimethyl ketone, Acetone, Methanol, Isopropanol, Ethanol, Toxic Serum Alcohol Screen

Test Codes

EPIC: LAB5911, Beaker: ALCSC, Antrim #13180



Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect (preferred specimen): One plain Red-top tube or Gray-top Potassium Oxalate/Sodium Fluoride tube. (Minimum Whole Blood: 2.0 mL)
Also acceptable: One Gold-top SST tube. SST collection is an approved alternate specimen type for Volatile Alcohols, including Ethanol.

Do not use alcohol swabs. Use Betadine SEPP.
Record the exact time of specimen collection on the tube or in the computer system.

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Serum tube (plain red top or SST): Let specimen clot for 30 minutes and centrifuge to separate serum from cells within one hour of collection. Transfer serum to a plastic transport tube, cap immediately and refrigerate (2-8°C or 36-46°F) (Minimum 2.0 mL blood).

Gray top tube: Refrigerate (2-8°C or 36-46°F) (Minimum 2.0 mL blood).

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport the serum transport tube or the whole blood gray top tube refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F) minimum 1.0 mL serum or 2.0 whole blood in gray top tube.

Rejection Criteria

  • Specimens that are stored uncapped.
  • Specimens that are obviously contaminated.
  • Specimens not processed as indicated.

In-Lab Processing

Let serum specimens clot 30-60 minutes. Centrifuge specimen to separate serum or plasma from cells. Deliver immediately to the appropriate testing station.


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 2 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 24 hours
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 3 months
Frozen (-70°C/-94°F or below): Indefinitely

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 2 months


Royal Oak Toxicology Laboratory


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

Reference Range

  Reference Range Critical Range
Methanol 0-5 mg/dL Greater than 15 mg/dL
Ethanol 0-5 mg/dL Greater than 250 mg/dL
Acetone 0-10 mg/dL Greater than 50 mg/dL
Isopropanol 0-10 mg/dL Greater than 50 mg/dL

Test Methodology

Gas Liquid Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detection (GC/FID).

This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by Beaumont Health. It has not been cleared or approved by the FDA. The Laboratory is regulated under CLIA as qualified to perform high-complexity testing. This test is used for clinical purposes and should not be regarded as investigational or for research.


Therapeutic drug levels may be affected by the gel present in Serum Separator (SST) tubes.

Elevated methanol and isopropanol serum levels may indicate the need for hemodialysis. Administration of ethanol and maintenance of serum ethanol levels of 100 mg/dL can also reduce toxicity by inhibiting oxidative metabolism and the formation of toxic metabolites.

Clinical Utility

This assay is used to detect, quantitate, and to evaluate the toxicity of methanol, ethanol, acetone, and isopropanol.

CPT Codes

LOINC:  Acetone 5568-1, Ethanol 14336-2, Isopropanol 5669-7, Methanol 5693-7


Last Updated


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