Which lab studies are indicated in altered mental status associated with acetaminophen toxicity/poisoning?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020
  • Author: Susan E Farrell, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller, MD  more...
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Answer

The presence of altered mental status or clinical signs of encephalopathy warrant obtaining serum ammonia levels. Research indicates that arterial ammonia concentrations are higher than venous ammonia concentrations in a patient with acute liver failure and may be predictive of neurologic death. However, in a clinical picture that is consistent with acute hepatic dysfunction and encephalopathy, a venous sample can be considered sufficient in the context of other indicators of acute liver failure.


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