Which tests should be included in the physical exam for delirium?

Updated: Apr 25, 2019
  • Author: Kannayiram Alagiakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH, MHA; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

A careful and complete physical examination including a mental status examination is necessary. Testing vital signs such as temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration is mandatory.

Patients have difficulty sustaining attention, problems in orientation and short-term memory, poor insight, and impaired judgment. Key elements here are fluctuating levels of consciousness.

Impaired attention can be assessed with bedside tests that require sustained attention to a task that has not been memorized, such as reciting the days of the week or months of the year backwards, counting backwards from 20, or doing serial subtraction.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!