What lab studies are performed in the workup of diarrhea?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020
  • Author: Stefano Guandalini, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Other laboratory studies may include the following:

  • Serum albumin levels: Low in protein-losing enteropathies from enteroinvasive intestinal infections (eg, Salmonella spp, enteroinvasive E coli)

  • Fecal alpha1-antitrypsin levels: High in enteroinvasive intestinal infections

  • Anion gap to determine nature of the diarrhea (ie, osmolar vs secretory)

  • Intestinal biopsy: May be indicated in the presence of chronic or protracted diarrhea, as well as in cases in which a search for a cause is believed to be mandatory (eg, in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS] or patients who are otherwise severely immunocompromised)

See Workup for more detail.

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