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A retrospective review of 81 emergency department patients was performed to determine the accuracy of blood ethanol levels (BEL) calculated from serum osmolality. The osmolar gap (measured — calculated serum osmolality) was used to determine the calculated BEL. The mean difference between calculated and measured BEL was 49.2 mg/dL. Calculated BEL overestimated measured BEL in 83% of patients. Adding a correction factor for unmeasured osmoles to the equation for calculated serum osmolality will reduce this error.
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Accepted: September 19, 1991
Received in revised form: September 16, 1991
Received: April 4, 1991
© 1992 Published by Elsevier Inc.