Simple blood test can help identity patients' misuse of alcohol

The PEth could be potentially helpful for every physician to anticipate and also to cut-off some of the most dreadful complications of alcohol such as organ failure and impaired healing of wounds and bones.

More than 1 in 8 Americans are now alcoholics

A study has found that a simple blood test for a compound called Phosphatidylethanol (PEth)could explicitly show the critical illness of alcoholics and the consequences.

The PEth could be helpful for every physician anticipate and also to cut-off some of the most dreadful complication due to alcohol such as organ failure and impaired healing of wounds and bones.

Patients who often become heavily addicted to drinking could ultimately become the victims of alcoholic-related diseases and develop numerous complications. The fundamental conditions that the patients undergo include longer recovery time, develop dysfunction both internally as well as externally and exceedingly high chances of death in a short span of time.

Alcohol misuse or alcohol consumption is usually seen as drinking beyond what one is supposed to drink per day. Heavy drinking could mean consuming more than two drinks per day for both men and women.

However, till recently several methods of identity alcohol misuse amongst patients are found to be inaccurate. For example, the majority of alcoholic patients in the critical stage often lacked the ability to answer every query concerning the alcohol misuse. The blood-test remains the major tool to identify alcohol misuse without differentiating whether they are heavy drinkers or occasional drinkers.

The alternative blood test measures phosphatidylethanol found in the blood, and it plays a vital role in biomarking any alcohol use. With a half-life of 4 to 12 days, PEth lasts much longer in the blood compared to blood alcohol concentration. Phosphatidylethanol will remain detectable for a duration of three weeks.

A PEth level of at least 250 nanograms per mililiter (ng/ml) was 88.7% accurate in identifying while testing patients who display the alcohol misuse and 400 ng/ml was 83% accurate in finding the exact result for those who are severe alcoholics.

"The study is the first to examine the role PEth could play in critically ill patients. The findings, "demonstrate good diagnostic accuracy for PEth in discriminating alcohol misuse, with useful cut-points to risk- stratify patients," said Majid Afshar, who led the team of researchers from researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center and the University of Colorado.

The study was published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

This article was first published on November 11, 2017