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July 2016

Error in SI Conversion Factor

JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(7):1037. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3478

In the Teachable Moment article titled “Hemodialysis in a Healthy Patient—A Case of an Erroneous Laboratory Result: A Teachable Moment”1 published online February 22, 2016, there was a calculation error related to conversion of SI (International System of Units) to empirical units for the serum ethanol level and the normal range of methanol. The corrected sentence should read: “Serum toxicology screening demonstrated a serum ethanol level of 37.3 mg/dL (8.1 mmol/L) and a methanol level of 19.22 mg/dL (6.00 mmol/L) (normal range; <4.00 mg/dL [<1.25 mmol/L]).” Specifically, the patient’s ethanol level of 8.1 mmol/L was incorrectly converted to 144 mg/dL when in fact the correct conversion is 37.3 mg/dL. The patient’s methanol level and its conversion were correct. The lower limit of methanol is <4.00 mg/dL or <1.25 mmol/L (not 0.86 mmol/L).

Himmel  ME, Lam  K, Fralick  M.  Hemodialysis in a healthy patient—a case of an erroneous laboratory result: a teachable moment.  JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(4):431-432.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref