Page last updated: May 2017
Ethylglucuronide in the urine as a marker of alcohol consumption during pregnancy

Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is an ethanol metabolite and EtG is used as a biomarker of alcohol drinking. EtG can be detected in the blood and in several biological matrices including urine, hair and nails. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a risk factor for fetus health, so in the recent years different strategies to reveal alcohol use have been suggested including the use of screening questionnaires as the AUDIT-C, T-ACE and TWEAK. A study of pregnant women in Sapienza University Hospital investigated the specificity and predictive value of the AUDIT-C, T-ACE and TWEAK questionnaires plus a food diary compared with the results of urine EtG measurement.

Seventy pregnant women were enrolled and examined. Urine samples were provided by pregnant women immediately after the interviews. EtG determinations were performed by Enzyme Immunoassay with a cut-off established at 100ng/ mL. Data show that 34.28% of the enrolled pregnant women overcame the EtG cut off.

No direct correlation was found between EtG data and the alcohol screening interviews showing lower levels of alcohol consumption, although T-ACE revealed the same at risk percentage. However, a significant concordance was observed with food diary data and T-ACE only in patients with higher EtG urinary concentration. This study provides clinical evidence that the diagnosis of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy only based on indirect methods, such as questionnaires and food diary, may significantly underestimate alcohol use.

Source: Ethylglucuronide in the urine as a marker of alcohol consumption during pregnancy: comparison with four alcohol screening questionnaires. Ferraguti G, Ciolli P, Carito V, Battagliese G, Mancinelli R, Ciafrè S, Tirassa P, Ciccarelli R, Cipriani A, Messina MP, Fiore M7, Ceccanti M4. Toxicol Lett. 2017 Apr 25. pii: S0378-4274(17)30166-2. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2017.04.016.

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