Plasma Ethanol Testing

For a number of years, the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory has only offered plasma ethanol testing as part of the "Ethanol Volatile Panel" [Epic # LAB604]. The "Ethanol Volatile Panel" also includes osmolality (calculated and measured) and osmol gap, and is the initial test in the evaluation of whether to do gas chromatography testing for other alcohols such as ethylene glycol, isopropanol, propylene glycol, and methanol that may cause elevated unexplained osmol gaps.

From feedback from the clinical services, there are circumstances where only a plasma ethanol is desired and the added information on osmolality is not needed. Consequently, an order that only includes plasma ethanol is now available in Epic as "Ethanol, Plasma" [Epic # LAB4919].

Those in charge of SmartSets and Preference Lists that contain the "Ethanol Volatile Panel" should assess whether they want to add "Ethanol, Plasma" or even replace "Ethanol Volatile Panel" with "Ethanol, Plasma", depending on the patient population they are working with.

"Ethanol, Plasma" is now available for ordering with the preferred specimen type being a light green plasma separator tube (5 mL whole blood in light green top tube or TWO 0.6 light green microtubes).

Questions should be directed to Matthew Krasowski, MD, PhD, Medical Director of the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory (384-9380,