The Use of Δ Osmolality to Predict Serum Isopropanol and Acetone Concentrations

Michael S. Monaghan, Bruce H. Ackerman, Keith M. Olsen, Charles Farmer, Alexandras A. Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We investigated whether serum Δ osmolality will predict the total serum concentration of isopropanol and acetone metabolite. Three isopropanol ingestions were monitored by Δ osmolality determinations followed by quantification of serum isopropanol and acetone concentrations. The Δ osmolality was established by routine chemical analysis and standard freezing point depression osmometry. Serum isopropanol and acetone levels were quantified by gas chromatography‐head space analysis (GC‐HS). Patients were initially suspected of having isopropanol intoxication secondary to an elevated Δ osmolality discrepancy (measured ‐ calculated > 10 mOsm). Serum concentrations versus Δ osmolality were analyzed by linear regression (correlation coefficient r=0.713; p<0.05). The Δ osmolality paralleled and decreased relative to the total low molecular weight of volatile concentration in each case. In emergencies, Δ osmolality may be a screening test to identify rapidly patients at risk for complications associated with isopropanol ingestion when GC‐HS is not available. 1993 Pharmacotherapy Publications Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-63
Number of pages4
JournalPharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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