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Methodology

Availability of specimen type and amount influence the analyses which are performed in each case. When there are no specimen restrictions, the following battery of tests are performed:

Note: The full battery of tests is not typically performed on passengers. However, passengers are analyzed for CARBON MONOXIDE, via carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), in cases of fire, and CYANIDE when COHb is ≥ 10%, or upon special request, provided suitable blood samples are available.

Carboxyhemoglobin: Blood

  • Quantitation: UV/VIS
    • Reporting cutoff: 10%
  • Confirmation: GC/TCD

Cyanide: Blood (performed only if COHb is ≥ 10%)

  • Quantitation: UV/VIS with Conway Diffusion preparation/color test
    • Reporting cutoff: 0.25 µg/mL cutoff
  • Confirmation: LC-UV/VIS

Volatiles: All specimen types

  • GC/FID, dual column
  • Quantitation: Methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, and acetone
    • LOD = 1.0 mg/dL, LOQ = 2.5 mg/dL
  • Qualitative: acetaldehyde, n-propanol, isobutanol, n-butanol, sec-butanol
  • Confirmation: GC/FID, dual column
  • Urine Ethanol: Chemical analyzer, performed when ethanol ≥ 10 mg/dL by GC/FID.

Glucose: Urine or Vitreous Fluid

  • Quantitation: Chemical Analyzer, LOD/LOQ = 5.0 mg/dL
  • Confirmation: Color test (dipstick) for Glucose ≥ 100 mg/dL
  • Postmortem vitreous glucose levels above 125 mg/dL are considered abnormal.
  • Postmortem urine levels above 100 mg/dL are considered abnormal.

Hemoglobin A1c: Blood

  • Quantitation: Chemical Analyzer
  • Hemoglobin A1c blood levels above 6% are considered abnormal. Hemoglobin A1c testing is performed when Vitreous glucose level ≥ 125 mg/dL or Urine glucose level ≥ 100 mg/dL.

Immunoassay Drug Screen (Urine)
Screening: Chemical Analyzer
Assay Type Cutoff
Amphetamines/Methamphetamines 250 ng/mL
Barbiturates 100 ng/mL
Benzodiazepines 100 ng/mL
Cannabinoids 25 ng/mL
Cocaines 100 ng/mL
Opiates 100 ng/mL
Phencyclidine 15 ng/mL
Acetaminophen 10 µg/mL
Salicylate 60 µg/mL
Theophylline 20 µg/mL
Phenytoin 1000 ng/mL
Immunoassay Drug Screen (Other than Urine)
Screening: ELISA
Assay Type Cutoff
Methamphetamines 40 ng/mL
Barbiturates 30 ng/mL
Benzodiazepines 20 ng/mL
Cannabinoids 15 ng/mL
Cocaines 20 ng/mL
Opiates 20 ng/mL
Phencyclidine 20 ng/mL
Acetaminophen 10 µg/mL
Salicylate 20 µg/mL

General Drug Screen: Any specimen type

  • Screening: GC/MS and LC/MS for basic, acidic and neutral drugs

Drug Confirmation: Any specimen type

  • Quantitation: GC/MS or LC/MS; Abused or impairing drugs will be quantitated. Other drugs may be reported qualitatively.

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