Ethylene Glycol, Serum or Plasma

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Turnaround Time: 2 - 4 days
CPT Code:


Test Type: 7 mL Serum or plasma
Stability Time:



Room temperature

14 days


14 days


14 days

Reference Range:

None detected (<5 mg/dL)

Potentially toxic: >20 mg/dL


This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by LabCorp. It has not been cleared or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Ethylene glycol is a colorless, odorless, sweet tasting compound used commercially in antifreeze. It has been utilized in suicide attempts, as a substitute for ethanol and in accidental poisonings in both children and domestic pets. 100 mL is lethal; rapid treatment can prevent damage. Half-life is three to five hours. Toxicity is manifested by CNS depression (1 to 12 hours after ingestion), cardiopulmonary symptoms (12 to 24 hours after ingestion), and renal damage (24 to 72 hours after ingestion). Oxalate is a minor metabolite of ethylene glycol and crystals are commonly seen in urine. In addition to blood levels of ethylene glycol, hypocalcemia, elevated anion gap, metabolic acidosis, and osmolal gap elevation are observed. Precaution: Toxicity may be manifested without osmolal gap changes and osmolal and anion gap increases can be present with very low levels of ethylene glycol.

Fraser AD. Clinical toxicologic implications of ethylene glycol and glycolic acid poisoning. Ther Drug Monit. 2002 Apr; 24(2):232-238. PubMed 11897969

Collection Details:

Collection Instructions:

Gel-barrier tube or green-top (heparin) tube; submit original unopened tube.