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Online ISSN 1827-1677
Bianchi V. 1, Roveta A. L. 1, Arfini C. 2
1 Laboratorio di Tossicologia Azienda Ospedaliera SS. Antonio e Biagio e C. Arrigo, Alessandria
2 Dipartimento di Patologia Clinica Azienda Ospedaliera SS. Antonio e Biagio e C. Arrigo
Aim. This is the first exploratory survey conducted in Italy to determine the state of the art in measuring carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, a marker of chronic alcohol abuse, widely used for forensic and administrative purposes by local medical commissions for issuing fitness certification for conducting a motor vehicle.
Methods. All medical laboratories of public hospitals and university medicolegal institutes were surveyed between August and October 2005.
Results. Very few medicolegal institute laboratories (9.8%) perform carbohydrate-transferrin analysis; most perform screening and only 50% of presumably positive results are retested with confirmatory analysis. Other findings were: substantial differences in threshold values that were not consistently related to the technique employed; method-dependent reference algorithms; wide range in fees regardless of the service area and the sophistication of the technique employed.
Conclusion. It is hoped that scientific societies and medical centers collaborate, each within its scope of competences, will draw up recommendations and develop sound analytic methods appropriate for rigorous standards to be followed by forensic and administrative bodies.