What is the role of a Wood's lamp in the diagnosis of ethylene glycol (EG) toxicity?

Updated: Dec 05, 2017
  • Author: Daniel C Keyes, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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Another technique, popularized by the television series "ER," is to shine a Wood's lamp (ultraviolet light) on an early sample of urine. If a sufficient fluorescein level is present in the radiator fluid, the urine fluoresces. [7, 8] The urine should be compared with a control sample. If the radiator fluid contains fluorescein, a green-colored glow may be observed in a dark room. This light also may be used to detect possible ethylene glycol on clothing or the patient. It must be stated, however, that this is not a reliable means to confirm or eliminate the possibility of an ethylene glycol ingestion, for a multitude of reasons. [9]

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