Feb 1, 2018




Clinical Hub,Tools & Resources,UWHC Lab Test Directory,Toxicology

Ethylene Glycol and Volatile Screen, Adult

Ethylene Glycol and Volatile Screen, Adult (HCVGAP) Toxicology Lab Test

Name: Ethylene Glycol and Volatile Screen, Adult

Test Name: Ethylene Glycol and Volatile Screen, Adult

Health Link Test Code: HCVGAP

LIS Test Code: VGAP

CPT Code(s): 80307,82693,84520,84295,82947,83930

Test Component:

Ethylene glycol 



Alcohol (ethanol)




Serum Osmolality

Methodology: Gas Chromatography

Days Performed: Daily.

In-Lab Turnaround Time: 1 day.

Stat In-Lab Turnaround Time: 2 hours.

Specimen: Blood

Collection Container: Green top and red top and green top with yellow ring (PST)

Collection Volume: 1 - 4 mL green top and 1 - 4 mL red top tube and 1 - 4 mL green top with yellow ring (PST)

Pediatric Collection Volume: 1mL in green top and 2 mL in red top

Stability Ambient:

7 days (Ethylene Glycol)

3 days (Methanol/Isopropanol)

Stability Refridgerated:

14 days (Ethylene Glycol)

3 days (Methanol/Isopropanol)

Stability Frozen:

14 days

Sample Analyzed: Serum and whole blood

Testing Volume: 3 mL whole blood and 2 mL serum and 2 mL plasma (PST)

Pediatric Testing Volume: 0.5 mL whole blood and 0.5 mL serum

Specimen Processing:

Centrifuge red top and PST tube as soon as possible. Transfer cell-free the serum to plastic vial within 2 hours of collection.  Remove plasma to plastic vial only if not good separation between cells and plasma was obtained with plasma separation gel.  Refrigerate.

Do NOT open or centrifuge green top tube. Submit whole blood. Refrigerate.


Outreach Specimen Processing:

Transport serum, plasma (PST) and whole blood sample with coolant pack.

Specimen Transport:

Transport specimen to laboratory. Transport serum, plasma (PST) and whole blood with coolant pack if coming from clinic location.

Unacceptable Criteria:

Do NOT draw using red cap with yellow ring (SST) top tube.


Ethylene Glycol:

Lower limit of detection is 2.0 mg/dL. After ingestion of ethylene glycol, the level may reach 500.0 mg/dL.



Lower limit of detection: 10 mg/dL
Clinical intoxication:  20 - 400 mg/dL  
Significant toxicity:   at 20 mg/dL 



Lower limit of detection: 5 mg/dL
Clinical intoxication:  40 - 440 mg/dL  
Significant toxicity:   at 340 mg/dL 



Please see individual test directory entries for Alcohol, BUN, Sodium, Glucose and Serum Osmolality testing information.

Interpretation Type: Interpretive Guidelines

Critical Calls: yes

Additional Information:

For specimens coming from outreach locations please complete VGAP Request Form.


Volatiles and Ethylene Glycol testing is performed stat when received between the hours of: 0700-1530 weekdays and limited hours on weekends and holidays.


These tests will be assayed stat after hours if:

1) The patient is younger than 18 years old OR

2) The patient is 18 years or older and has an Osmo Gap greater than 15 by the following calculation -


Osmo Gap = Osmolality - [(Sodium*2) + (Glucose/18) + (BUN/2.8) +(Ethanol (mg/dL)/4.6)]


If neither of these 2 criteria are met for samples received after hours, testing will be completed the next dayshift.


All results will be called.


The half-life of ethylene glycol is 3-6 hours. A lethal dose of ethylene glycol is 1-2 mg/kg body weight. Propylene glycol can also be detected by this method.


Methanol is commonly referred to as wood alcohol or methyl alcohol.


This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by the UWHC Clinical Laboratories.  This test meets the standards for clinical testing.  This test should not be regarded as investigational or for research use.  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved or cleared this test; however, the FDA has determined that such clearance or approval is not necessary.