Biochemical and haematological aspects of ethanol metabolism in humans : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Biochemistry at Massey University, New Zealand
Macrocytosis or raised mean cell volume (MCV) (which as measured by the Coulter S counter) is one of the results of alcohol abuse. There is a need to identify (chronic) alcoholics by laboratory tests. The obvious measurement of blood alcohol is not suitable as ethanol is so rapidly cleared from the body. It is usually undetectable 2 – 3 hours after drinking. To this the following battery of tests: MCV, fast haemoglobin, gamma glutamyl transferase and thiamine, have been examined These tests which were performed, on a population consisting of 115 random hospital patients, 14 patients attending diabetic clinic and 13 'normal' volunteers. For ethical reasons it was not possible to obtain samples from known alcoholics. Instead those samples which contained red cells above 92 fl of MCV were suspected of including alcoholics and correlated with other parameter which may be assumed to be elevated in alcoholics. The results showed that there were 23 abnormal findings likely to be associated with heavy drinkings in 70 bloods selected for high MCV.