From the 9th of February 2016, ethlene glycol measurement is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.
Ethylene glycol is an odourless and highly toxic compound found in various household products. Cases of ethylene glycol poisoning are rare but often fatal unless treated promptly. Early recognition is thus critical for treatment and recovery of patients. Patients with ethylene glycol poisoning typically present in the acute setting with a high anion gap metabolic acidosis, altered mental status and acute kidney injury. Indirect testing of ethylene glycol ingestion (e.g. lactate, osmolar gap & anion gap), although potentially helpful, are not accurate estimators of the presence of ethylene glycol. Urgent, accurate measurement of ethylene glycol should be sought if ingestion is suspected. Measurement of ethylene glycol
has not always been readily available due to specialised methodologies required; and often comes at a prohibitively high price for access to these assays out of normal working hours.
We have therefore implemented a rapid, automated, cost effective assay for the measurement of ethylene glycol which is readily available 24/7.
GC-MS measurement of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol is still available on specific request.
Please contact the laboratory (41185 / 0121 424 1185) and ask to speak to a biomedical scientist or biochemist before sending a specimen.
If you wish to discuss a particular patient please bleep the duty biochemist / toxicologist on 2506 or 3289 in work hours, or the on-call consultant via switchboard (0121 424 2000).
For external users, please send samples urgently via courier to: Pathology Reception, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Bordesley Green East, B9 5SS. Couriers should use the Yardley Green Road Entrance to the hospital. At night, vehicular access is limited but access on foot is available via the pedestrian gate.