What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of delirium tremens (DTs)?

Updated: Nov 06, 2020
  • Author: Michael James Burns, MD, FACEP, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Serum ethanol concentration is important to assess, because patients who exhibit withdrawal while ethanol is still present in the serum are likely to have a more severe course. Additional laboratory tests include the following:

  • Serum glucose

  • Complete blood count with differential

  • Drug screen, if suspicion of drug use is present

Measure serum anticonvulsant levels if the patient is known or suspected to be taking anticonvulsant medication. Other studies that may be useful in certain patients include measurement of serum lactate, as well as serum osmolality, with calculation of the osmolal gap.

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