Serum ethanol levels in children and adults after ethanol embolization or sclerotherapy for vascular anomalies

Radiology. 2000 Oct;217(1):127-32. doi: 10.1148/radiology.217.1.r00se30127.


Purpose: To evaluate the serum ethanol level in children and adults after ethanol embolization or sclerotherapy for vascular anomalies.

Materials and methods: Serum ethanol level was evaluated in 71 patients with vascular anomalies who underwent ethanol embolization, sclerotherapy, or both. Blood used to determine serum ethanol level was drawn at the end of each procedure.

Results: The relationship between serum ethanol level and amount of ethanol administered was statistically significant. Results of stepwise linear regression analysis showed that the amount of ethanol administered (P <.001) and type of malformation (P =.02) were multivariate predictors of serum ethanol level. Results of logistic regression analysis revealed that the only uni- or multivariate predictor of legal intoxication was the amount of ethanol administered (P =.018). Five patients fulfilled the criteria for legal intoxication, and the mean amount of ethanol administered to these patients was 0.87 mL per kilogram of body weight +/- 0.18 (SD) (range, 0.55-0.99 mL/kg).

Conclusion: The volume of ethanol administered is the most reliable predictor of serum ethanol level and legal intoxication. Patients who receive up to 1.0 mL/kg ethanol during embolization or sclerotherapeutic procedures may have elevated serum ethanol levels that could put them at risk of respiratory depression, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, rhabdomyolysis, and hypoglycemia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethanol / blood*
  • Ethanol / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sclerotherapy / methods*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ethanol