Alcohol Poisoning Cheat sheet

Alcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex and potentially lead to a coma and death.

Alcohol poisoning can also occur when adults or children accidentally or intentionally drink household products that contain alcohol. A person with alcohol poisoning needs immediate medical attention. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, call for emergency medical help right away.

Differential  Diagnosis of alcohol Poisoning



Metabolic acidosis with an increased gap may occure due to production of lactic acid or hypoglycemia (Ketones)

  • All are commonly used as an ethanol substitute.
  • All are initially metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH).
  • Blood levels of each alcohol is the most specific test.

Key Clues

  • Alcohol and isopropyl alcohol look similar except fruity breath.
  • Isopropyl alcohol can be distinguished from Methanol and ethylene glycol because of the absence of anion gap metabolic acidosis.
  • Fluorescence of the urine under Wood`s lamp suggests ethylene glycol because of fluorescein, a component of antifreeze.


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