The most important need for ethanol measurement, clinically, is in the identification of acute intoxification, particularly in differential diagnosis of unexplained coma, and monitoring chronic alcohol abuse. Ethanol measurement is also important in blood and urine for post mortem samples.
Urgent analysis for alcohol toxicity may be required, particularly in the young.
Ethanol is also used to treat Ethylene Glycol (antifreeze) or methanol poisoning through competitive inhibition of the metabolic pathway and measurements of the dosage will be required.
< 100: not detected
500 – 1000: Euphoria and decreased inhibitions, flushing, impaired visual acuity
1000 – 3000: Increased disorientation and co-ordination
> 4000: Coma and death
Serum and lithium heparin plasma. Fluoride oxalate can also be used