The Viaguard Accu-metrics PEth test for chronic alcohol use sets a new standard for determining patterns of use and abuse in approximately a one month period. It is now coming into more common usage and we will briefly explain its significance.
The reason for choosing a PEth Test over Hair or Nail Testing
Nail or hair testing provides a clinically precise daily average level of use, over a 3 to 6 month time frame.
Nail testing uses only the EtG biomarker, which is also used in EtG hair tests.
FAEE hair testing is based on fatty acid ethyl esters and this test is vulnerable to external sources of alcohol so it should be used under controlled circumstances.
The PEth (phosphatidylethanol) direct marker of alcohol use and abuse, has a sensitivity and accuracy of over 99%. It is the best available indicator of patterns of drinking within about a one month time frame. The difficulty in assessing alcohol drinking behavior from an objective point of view has led in the past decade to an intensive search for reliable biomarkers of chronic excessive drinking. Among them PEth in blood, and FAEE in hair or EtG in hair/nails. All these biomarkers have attracted special attention, as they are highly specific and correlate with ingested ethanol. FAEE is vulnerable to external sources of alcohol while PEth is not.
EtG in hair is far less vulnerable to external sources of alcohol.
Nails (finger or toe) are not affected by external sources of alcohol, and have the added advantage that any type of hair treatment, including extreme bleaching, coloring, etc. has no effect on EtG levels found in nails. It may, in some circumstances, decrease EtG levels in hair. This means of course, that an EtG level in treated hair is unaffected or at minimal levels.
All testing for alcohol is done using forensic standards and LC/MS/MS quantitative determinations.
PEth in blood differentiates itself from the other markers by showing promise for the characterization of drinking patterns such as binge drinking episodes, and differentiating light to moderate drinking from abstinence.
PEth testing invites a detection of alcohol abuse with 99% sensitivity. And is a direct biomarker, which means that it can only be formed after someone has ingested alcohol, and it stays in the bloodstream attaching itself to the red blood cell membranes for about a month.
How PEth Testing is Performed
PEth testing is done by using blood samples and there are two options for the collection of the blood sample.
One involves the use of a finger prick Lance where a number of blood drops are collected on a specially designed card. This option which is simple and painless can be done when the client comes to our facility, or by our trained remote sample collector within the GTA.
The second option is a small blood draw, collecting a few milliliters of blood sample in our small Vacutainer. This can be done at our facility or remotely by Viaguard Accu-metrics arranging for a blood sample to be taken at any number of clinics or labs that do blood collection. The sample is stable in the collection tube, and viable for analysis for up to a week, but is usually transported by overnight courier to our lab.
Generally the results of a PEth test fall into three broad categories
- About 10 ng/ml suggests a level of ingestion of two or three drinks a day for the previous 30 days or a couple of binge sessions
- About 20 ng/ml suggests four or five drinks a day for the previous 30 days or a weekly binge session
- About 90 ng/ml suggests binge sessions almost daily
PEth testing is not affected by medications, and can be combined with any other type of alcohol testing. The test cannot be affected by the use of any external cosmetic alcohol containing products.
PEth testing is done to forensic standards using LC/MS/MS,
Extensive research has demonstrated that phosphatidyl ethanol forms in red cell membranes, exclusively in the presence of ethanol. Phosphatidylethanol exhibits a high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity for detecting active chronic excessive drinking.
The use of sensitive analytical methods such as LC/MS/MS make possible the identification of minute levels of alcohol consumption, to the point of abstinence, and the identification of binge drinking.
We will handle the collection of samples whether hair blood or urine from any location.
Call us at 1-877-842-4827 or in the GTA at 416-691-4167 to get started.