Laboratory Evaluation

The selection of particular laboratory tests emerges from diagnostic needs suggested by the history and by the findings of mental status examination and physical examination. Fluid and electrolyte disorders are common in elderly patients. Hypoglycemia can precipitate aggressive or agitated behavior, and an elevated white blood cell count may signify infection in patients with acute changes in mental status. Tests that can be helpful when a patient presents with agitation are listed in Table 281-3.

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