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    Ethylene glycol test

    Ethylene glycol is a type of alcohol found in many household products. It does not have color or odor. It tastes sweet. Ethylene glycol is poisonous. People sometimes drink ethylene glycol bymistake or on purpose as a substitute for alcohol.

    A test can be done to check for ethylene glycol inthe blood.

    How the Test is Performed

    Blood is most often drawn from a vein. The vein usually used is on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

    The procedure is done in the following way:

    • The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic).
    • The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
    • A needle is gently inserted into the vein.
    • The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle.
    • The elastic band is removed.
    • The needle is removed.
    • The puncture site is covered with an adhesive stripto stop any bleeding.

    In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. Afterward, abandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    No special preparation isneeded.

    How the Test Will Feel

    When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feelslight pain,or only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This test is ordered when ahealth care providerthinks someone has been poisoned by ethylene glycol. Drinking ethylene glycol is a medical emergency. Ethylene glycol can damage the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and lungs. The poisoning disturbs the body's chemistryand can lead to condition calledmetabolic acidosis. In severe cases, shock, organ failure, and death can result.

    Normal Results

    There should be no ethylene glycol present in the blood.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Abnormal results are a sign of possible ethylene glycolpoisoning.

    Risks

    There is very 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 may include:

    • Excessive bleeding
    • Fainting or feeling light-headed
    • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
    • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

    References

    Pincus MR, Abraham NZ Jr. Toxicology and therapeutic drug monitoring. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 23.

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          Tests for Ethylene glycol test

          Review Date: 1/22/2013

          Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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