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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Ethylene Glycol and Volatile Screen, Adult

Test Code(s): VGAP / HCVGAP

CPT Code(s): 82693,84600

Test Description: Test Component:

Ethylene glycol and propylene glycol






Serum Osmolality

Methodology: Gas Chromatography

Days Performed: Daily.

Turnaround Time: Stat: 2 hours.
Routine: 24 hours.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Blood

Collection Container: Preferred: Green top and red top

Collection Volume: Preferred: 1- 4 mL green top and 1- 4 mL red top tube
Pediatrics: 1mL in green top and 2 mL in red top

Sample Analyzed: Serum and whole blood

Volume Required: Preferred: 3 mL whole blood and 2 mL serum
Pediatrics: 0.5 mL whole blood and 0.5 mL serum

Specimen Processing: Centrifuge red top as soon as possible. Transfer cell-free serum to plastic vial within 2 hours of collection. Refrigerate.
Do NOT open or centrifuge green top tube.  Submit whole blood. Refrigerate.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220). Transport serum and whole blood with coolant pack if coming from outreach location.  

Outreach Specimen Transport: Transport serum and whole blood sample with coolant pack.

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

Stability: Ambient: 7 days (Ethylene Glycol) 3 days (Methanol/Isopropanol)
Refrigerated: 14 days (Ethylene Glycol) 3 days (Methanol/Isopropanol)
Frozen: 14 days


Interpretive Guidelines:

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: 5 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 BUN, Sodium, Glucose and Serum Osmolality testing information.

Critical Calls: View

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: 0700-1600 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 or equal to 10 by the following calculation -


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


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.



ETGL, ethylene glycol
MEOH, methanol
ISOH, isopropanol

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