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Clin Chim Acta. 2012 Feb 18;413(3-4):365-77. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2011.10.034. Epub 2011 Nov 6.

Ethylene glycol poisoning: quintessential clinical toxicology; analytical conundrum.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, KY, United States.


Ethylene glycol poisoning is a medical emergency that presents challenges both for clinicians and clinical laboratories. Untreated, it may cause morbidly or death, but effective therapy is available, if administered timely. However, the diagnosis of ethylene glycol poisoning is not always straightforward. Thus, measurement of serum ethylene glycol, and ideally glycolic acid, its major toxic metabolite in serum, is definitive. Yet measurement of these structurally rather simple compounds is but simple. This review encompasses an assessment of analytical methods for the analytes relevant for the diagnosis and prognosis of ethylene glycol poisoning and of the role of the ethylene glycol metabolites, glycolic and oxalic acids, in its toxicity.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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