UCSF Navigation Bar

UCSF Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Home Page

Lab Manual for UCSF Clinical Laboratories

Lab Manual for SFGH

Internal Resources


Item Value
Available Stat? Yes
Test code SALC
Performed by? Chemistry
Sendout? no
Price range $$
In House Availability Routine: 7 days;
STAT: 24 hours/ 7 days
Principle Salicylate hydoxylase catalyzes the conversion of salicylate and NADH to catechol and NAD. The absorbance change (NADH --> NAD) is proportional to the concentration of salicylate in the sample.
Interpretation Salicylate ingestion is one of the most common causes of overdose death in the prescription/over-the-counter drug category. Salicylates are widely available in a variety of over-the-counter and prescription products, including topical preparations (methyl salicylate).

Two distinct syndromes of intoxication may occur, depending on whether the exposure is acute or chronic. Serum salicylate concentration(s) and blood gases are recommended. Call the California Poison Control Center for guidance in the management of patients with possible salicylate overdose. Their number is 1-800-8POISON.

Acute: A single determination of serum salicylate is NOT sufficient because of the potential for prolonged or delayed absorption (sustained-release preparations and/or a tablet mass). Depending on the time after ingestion, a mixed respiratory alkalemia and metabolic acidosis is common.

Chronic: Symptoms correlate poorly with serum levels. Metabolic acidosis is often present. The diagnosis is frequently overlooked because the presentation is nonspecific. Morbidity and mortality rates are much higher than after acute overdose.
Container type gel tube (gold or green top)
Amount to Collect 2 mL
Sample type Blood
Normal range
Therapeutic: < 25 mg/dL (1.81 mmol/L) (250 mg/L)
Toxic levels: > 35 mg/dL (> 2.53 mmol/L) (350 mg/L)

All values greater than 35 mg/dL (2.53 mmol/L, 350 mg/L) are considered Critical Values and are called to the physician or patient care unit immediately.
Stability 7 days at 2-8°C
References 1. Henry, J.B. Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 20th ed, WB Saunders Co, 2001, pp 354.

2. Olson, K.R. Poisoning & Drug Overdoses by the Faculty & staff of the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Poison Control Center, Appleton & LANGE, Norwalk, CT. 1994.

3. DCL Salicylate-SL Assay IN51120-2. August 13, 1998. Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd. Oxford, CT.

4. Olson KR ed. Poisoning & Drug Overdose, 3rd ed. Lange Clinical Manual. Appleton & Lange. Stamford, CT. 1999. pp 284-5.
CPT coding 80196
Last Updated 11/21/2010 12:41:17 PM
Search Our Test Menu
UCSF home page UCSF home page About UCSF Search UCSF UCSF Medical Center