What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of influenza?

Updated: Apr 23, 2019
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Findings of standard laboratory studies, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and electrolyte levels, are nonspecific but helpful in the workup of influenza. Leukopenia and relative lymphopenia are typical findings. Thrombocytopenia may be present. In severe cases of influenza, the patient is likely to have hypoxemia, and the alveolar-arterial (A-a) gradient may be increased (>35 mm Hg). Patients with physical examination findings compatible with meningitis should undergo lumbar puncture.


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