Ethylene glycol blood test
This test measures the level of ethylene glycol in the blood.
Ethylene glycol is a type of alcohol found in automotive and household products. It does not have color or odor. It tastes sweet.
How the Test is Performed
How to Prepare for the Test
No special preparation is needed.
How the Test will Feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel slight pain. Others feel a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.
Why the Test is Performed
This test is ordered when a health care provider thinks someone has been poisoned by ethylene glycol. Suspected ethylene glycol poisoning, usually due to drinking it, is a medical emergency. Ethylene glycol can damage the brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs. The poisoning disturbs the body's chemistry and can lead to condition called
There should be no ethylene glycol present in the blood.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Abnormal results are a sign of possible ethylene glycol poisoning.
There is little risk in having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Taking a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Fainting or feeling lightheaded
- Multiple punctures to locate veins
- Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
- Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
Bluth MH, Pincus MR, Abraham NZ. Toxicology and therapeutic drug monitoring. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 24.
Nelson ME. Toxic alcohols. In: Walls RM, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 136.
Review Date: 02/28/2023
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright ©2019 A.D.A.M., Inc., as modified by University of California San Francisco. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Information developed by A.D.A.M., Inc. regarding tests and test results may not directly correspond with information provided by UCSF Health. Please discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.