Ethylene Glycol Toxicity Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 29, 2020
  • Author: Daniel C Keyes, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
  • Print


As with all poisonings, ascertain the nature of the oral ingestion by talking with the patient or parents. Points to cover include the following:

  • The timing of ingestion is important.

  • The product involved is important. Try to obtain the original container of the ingested substance to confirm its identity.

  • Determine the timing and quantity of liquor or other ethanol ingestion.

  • Initially, patients may be asymptomatic; with time they will develop altered mental status and tachypnea.


Physical Examination

After an adequate airway is ensured, monitor vital signs, including temperature. Deep and rapid breathing may be Kussmaul respirations, which are indicative of severe metabolic acidosis. Assess for altered mental status.