Serum Alcohol Level

Our labs report ETOH level as mg/dL (i.e. x1000 of g/dL). See two tables below – which may be helpful to determine if ETOH is cause of altered mental status.

Also, ETOH metabolic rate is about 20 mg/dL/hour. This formula can be useful to calculate the peak ETOH levels. For example, a patient who comes in with ETOH level of 136 mg/dL who stopped drinking 10 hours ago probably had a peak ETOH level of 336 mg/dL (10 hours x 20mg/dL/hr = 200mg/dL).

Reference

Fenves, A., Mojtahed, A., Nisavic, M. and Massoth, L. (2019). Case 13-2019: A 54-Year-Old Man with Alcohol Withdrawal and Altered Mental Status. New England Journal of Medicine, 380(17), pp.1657-1665.

Elshiere, et al. Serum alcohol levels correlate with injury severity and resource utilization. South African Journal of Surgery.

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