What is the role of lab tests in the workup of status epilepticus (SE)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2018
  • Author: Julie L Roth, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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The presence of SE should prompt a search for its etiology, and in particular for potentially reversible conditions. Clinical information should guide the ordering of laboratory tests.

Laboratory studies that should be obtained on an emergency basis include the following:

  • Electrolytes

  • Calcium

  • Magnesium

  • Glucose

  • Complete blood count

  • Renal function tests

  • Toxicologic screening

  • Anticonvulsant levels

  • Liver function tests

Emergent glucose assessment is particularly important because both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can be associated with SE. Rapid turnaround of anticonvulsant drug levels may be particularly helpful in guiding treatment choices in patients with well-established epilepsy who on long-term therapy.

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