Steve C Kazmierczak PhD and Hassan M E Azzazy PhD


1. Introduction

2. Methanol

3. Specimen

4. Methods for Measurement of Ethanol

5. Interferences in Ethanol Analysis

6. Conclusion


Ethanol, commonly also referred to as alcohol, is widely used as well as abused, and measurement of alcohol is a common test in clinical toxicology and forensic laboratories. Although blood alcohol measurement is most commonly used, alcohol can also be measured in breath, urine, saliva and vitreous humor. Whole blood alcohol levels are lower than serum alcohol levels, and the value depends on the hematocrit. Although enzymatic assays based on capability of alcohol dehydrogenase to convert alcohol to acetaldehyde is widely used for rapid determination of serum or plasma alcohol concentrations, values may be elevated in postmortem serum as well as in patients with highly elevated lactate and lactate dehydrogenase level in blood. Gas chromatographic methods widely used for determination of forensic alcohol are considered as the reference method, and there are also few reports of using gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry for determination of alcohol concentrations in biological matrix.

Key Words: Alcohol testing; enzyme assay; lactate; LD; gas chromatography; isopropanol; methanol; acetone.

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