How are the lab tests for the workup of gastroenteritis determined?

Updated: Feb 10, 2017
  • Author: Arthur Diskin, MD; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
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The patient's evaluation should be based on the clinical assessment and the need to do the following:

  • Further evaluate the seriousness of the condition (degree of dehydration and electrolyte derangement).

  • Determine a specific etiologic agent.

  • Evaluate the patient for noninfectious etiologies.

  • Patients who require further workup include those who appear seriously ill or dehydrated; those who have high fevers, bloody stools, severe abdominal pain, or persistent diarrhea; and those who are immunocompromised or whose condition is suspected of having an epidemic diarrheal etiology.

  • History, epidemiologic considerations, and the physical examination should be the primary guides in determining whether any further diagnostic evaluation is necessary, followed by microscopic examination of the stool.

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