Learning objectives list the five causes of altered mental status in pediatric patients. A significant step forward in the diagnosis of patients with otherwise unexplained encephalitis has been the identification of. A perplexing case of altered mental status mdedge psychiatry. Often, what prehospital providers term as altered mental status is actually a symptom of an underlying condition. Aortic dissection occurs when a tear occurs in the inner muscle wall. The general and neurological examinations can give many clues both to the neurological and nonneurological causes. Cardinal presentations this post is part of a series called cardinal presentations, based on rosens emergency medicine 8th edition. Pdf evaluation and treatment of altered mental status. Guidelines for the management of severe sepsis and septic shock at shands uf purpose. Request pdf patient with altered mental status and possible seizure reveals an atypical aortic dissection upon workup. Altered mental status ams is a disruption in how your brain works that causes a change in behavior.
Published in the march 2014 issue of todays hospitalist. Em basic altered mental status ams this document doesnt reflect the views or opinions of the department of defense, the us army or the. Delirium, dementia, and amnesia in emergency medicine. Approximately 10% of ed patients present with delirium. Signs and symptoms associated with altered mental status ams include confusion, amnesia, poor judgment, and poor regulation of emotions. Serum sodium levels less than 125 meql to convert to mmoll, multiply by 1, particularly if developing within 48 hours, can be marked by altered mental status, seizures, coma, respiratory collapse, and death. Metabolic acidosis a decreased serum bicarbonate level also may be observed in acute cocaine intoxication. Ams in pediatric patients requires unique assessment jems. This leftsided weakness resolved without intervention within 2 hours while at home. A mental status examination should be performed as part. May 16, 2018 altered mental status ams represents a broad spectrum of disease processes, making treatment modalities equally broad and varied. Jones and dan miulli case study a 50yearold caucasian female was involved in a motor vehicle accident, during which she suffered a severe head injury, with initial glasgow coma scale gcs score of 10, and worsening.
Delirium, dementia, amnesia, and certain other alterations in cognition, judgment, andor memory are subsumed under more general terms such as mental status change, acute confusional state, or altered mental status. Read the clinical chemistry journals july 2019 clinical case study and student discussion. Delirious after undergoing workup for stroke mdedge. Evaluation of altered mental status differential diagnosis. Change in mental status with a mental status score of either mmse or moca of less than 26 or other other similar mental status exams showing at least mild cognitive impairment and a completed basic metabolic workup such as thyroid function testing, liver function testing, complete blood count, etc. A single cause of the altered mental status was found in 33% of patients, whereas 67% had multiple causes. Altered mental status can be a challenging diagnosis to deal with in any setting, including the emergency department ed, where higher volume and ill. Objectives define altered mental status list techniques of assessing the elderly patient with altered mental status list the signs, symptoms, and treatment of the elderly patient with mental status change related to alcohol and drug abuse acidosis seizure disorder metabolic disorders cardiovascular disease medication and nonmedication related toxic exposures. Hypertensive encephalopathy manifests initially with a slow onset of nausea, vomiting and headaches and nonspecific neurologic symptoms such as confusion and restlessness.
Distended bladder presenting with altered mental status and. C3 altered mental status part 1 summary 258 kb pdf the differential diagnosis for altered mental status is extremely broad. Evaluating persistent altered mental status after status epilepticus author responds. Abrupt onset of a cluster of global, transient changes and disturbances in attention, cognition, psychomotor activity, level of consciousness, or the sleepwake cycle. The aim of this study is to provide a framework for the assessment of ams patients. Internists must master an approach to the problem as they are often the first physicians to see these patients. Altered mental status is a broadly inclusive term used to describe a patient with a change in either the content of consciousness or the level of arousal. As you proceed through the above steps of initial stabilization, keep in mind rapidly reversible causes for the ams. Infection workup cbc, chem 10, blood cultures x2, ua and urine culture, chest xray, lp if suspecting meningitis pearl you have several hours before antibiotics will affect culture results so give antibiotics early, especially if you suspect meningitis. Background altered mental status ams is a very common emergency case, but the exact etiology of many ams patients is unknown. How to assess mental status msd manual professional edition. Feb 03, 2020 altered mental status ams is a disruption in how your brain works that causes a change in behavior.
Hypoglycemia is common, deadly and reversible cause of altered mental status that should be assessed in all altered patients. Altered mental status is commonly encountered in the neurological intensive care unit, and the differential diagnosis is broad. The diagnosis and management of altered mental status requires a knowledge of all areas of internal medicine, so varied are the etiologies and corresponding treatment strategies. Altered mental status medicine clerkship inpatient. Most internal medicine hospitalists and emergency department physicians are comfortable performing the initial workup, and neu. Because ams can be caused by a variety of conditions, it is very important to precisely describe what is observed, so an accurate clinical picture can be pieced together. Although in severe cases the child seems unresponsive, the initial changes in mental status are often subtle. These symptoms can progress into seizures and coma without treatment the physical exam is critical in establishing the diagnosis, particularly the neurologic and ophthalmoscopic exams. Distended bladder presenting with altered mental status. Values for electrolytes, glucose, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, calcium, and a complete blood count were all. Infection workup cbc, chem 10, blood cultures x2, ua and urine culture, chest xray, lp if suspecting meningitis. Patient with altered mental status and possible seizure. While hospitalists certainly see their share of patients with altered mental status, they may find it challenging to distinguish among different altered states and to decide when and how to treat various etiologies. Altered mental status is a common reason for neurologic consultation.
The last decade has seen advances in both the diagnosis and treatment of altered mental status. Confusion is a term nurses use often to represent a pattern of cognitive impairments. Status epilepticus continuous seizure or repeated seizures without returning to an alert. Altered mental status answers are found in the 5minute emergency consult powered by unbound medicine. C3 altered mental status part 2 written summary 265 kb pdf stuart and mizuho continue their discussion about ams, and discuss less common but interesting causes of ams, including clinical findings, workup and management of these various diagnoses. Recognition and differential diagnosis of psychosis in. Sepsis is recognized as a challenging disease to overcome. Evaluation and treatment of altered mental status patients. L, age 91, is admitted to the hospital for a neurologic evaluation of a recent episode of leftsided weakness that occurred 1 week ago. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and etiology of altered mental status in adults at an emergency department. The aim of this study is to provide a framework for the. Given the vagueness of the term, it is imperative to understand its key components before considering a differential diagnosis.
Altered mental status ams is a very common emergency case, but the exact etiology of many ams patients is unknown. Ams ranges from slight confusion to total disorientation and increased sleepiness to coma. I read with interest the case report by newey et al. Altered mental status texas department of state health. The altered mental status workup revealed normal results for complete blood count, complete metabolic panel, b 12 levels, and thyroidstimulating hormone. When altered behavior directs the diagnostic workup, this implies that confusion, thought problems, or altered mental status is the chief complaint. It is a behavior that indicates a disruption in cerebral metabolism. Sep 19, 2018 altered mental status can be divided into 2 major subgroups.
Must quickly determine if coma is from diffuse or focal impairment. Jun 15, 2015 for nonenglishspeaking patients, the use of a trained, bicultural interpreter is recommended in the evaluation of mental status. Acute mental status change, delirium, and new onset. Examination of mental status is done in anyone with an altered mental status or evolving impairment of cognition whether acute or chronic. Detailed analysis of 149 causes of altered mental status symptom, alternative diagnoses and related symptoms. While psychiatric conditions can at times mimic some features of these conditions or complicate their presentation in the emerge. Jul 01, 2019 read the clinical chemistry journals july 2019 clinical case study and student discussion. If the cause for ams is found, the prehospital care providers will then transition to that morespecific protocol.
Define altered mental status list techniques of assessing the elderly patient with altered mental status list the signs, symptoms, and treatment of the elderly patient with mental status change related to alcohol and drug abuse acidosis seizure disorder metabolic disorders cardiovascular disease. A yearold hispanic male presented to the emergency department ed 3 with an altered mental status ams after a 4day history of nausea and vomiting. This is probably the one of the most common consults here at ucla. Medical workup does not reveal an underlying cause. Feverweaknesssyncopealtered mental statusseizuredizziness and vertigoheadachesore throatdyspneachest painabdominal painnausea and vomitinggastrointestinal bleedingacute pelvic painback pain components of consciousness causes of altered mental status.
The progression of sepsis to severe sepsis and septic shock is devastating yielding a mortality of 3080%. Collateral history from family members is helpful in establishing the presentation and course of the illness. Aug 29, 2019 altered mental status is a broad category that applies to geriatric patients who have a change in cognition or level of consciousness loc. Patients often manifest vague symptoms, thus, ams diagnosis and treatment are highly challenging for emergency physicians. Emergency medicinealtered mental status wikibooks, open. Ams can be caused by physical, psychological, and environmental factors. Diagnosis and treatment of altered mental status springerlink. Altered mental status ams may account for up to 4% to 10% of chief complaints in the emergency department ed setting and is a common accompanying symptom for other presentations 1,2. Evaluation and treatment of altered mental status patients in. Altered mental status in a teenager clinical chemistry. Medical records of 790 patients with altered mental status were.
If you have questions about ordering your patients mri, we encourage you to speak with a radiologist about the study and the need for contrast. Low serum pth indicates nonpth mediated cause continue workup. How hospitalists should work up altered mental states. Recognize the signs and symptoms of a pediatric patient with altered mental status. Delirium, dementia, and amnesia in emergency medicine workup. A third entity, encephalopathy subacute organically based brain dysfunction, denotes a gray zone between these extremes. Adjunctive complaints such as dyspnea, hypoxia, high fever, or. She was intubated at the accident scene, and brought. A progressively worsening metabolic acidosis associated with progressive altered mental status is a. Many disease processes act directly or indirectly on the central nervous system cns to cause an alteration in the level of consciousness. Altered mental status in patients with cancer neurology.
Encephalopathy is also a nonspecific term, often used interchangeably with altered mental status, which implies a diffuse process causing a change in the levelofarousal. Drugs, especially opioids, were associated with altered mental status in 64% of patients, metabolic abnormalities in 53%, infection in 46%, and recent surgery in 32%. May 07, 2012 altered mental status ams is a very common emergency case, but the exact etiology of many ams patients is unknown. Em basic altered mental status ams condensed differential. Ams is not a diagnosis, rather a term for symptoms of acute or chronic disordered mentation 1, including. Altered mental status by warren porter, ms, lp time constraints. Altered mental status key teaching points for em faculty delirium addresses cognitive and behavioral disorders competencies delirium is an acute, fluctuating change in cognition accompanied by impaired attention and consciousness. This presentation is typical of a transient ischemic attack tia. Read about causes of altered mental status and the medications used in treatment. Delirious after undergoing workup for stroke mdedge psychiatry. Although it is often due to a systemic infection or metabolic derangement, a host of other etiologies can lead to irreversible brain injury if they are not promptly identified and treated. Evaluating persistent altered mental status after status.
When evaluating a patient with suspected hepatic encephalopathy, it is important to consider and evaluate other causes of altered mental status. The differential diagnosis for altered mental status is broad and includes lifethreatening yet treatable conditions. Sep 19, 2018 delirium, dementia, amnesia, and certain other alterations in cognition, judgment, andor memory are subsumed under more general terms such as mental status change, acute confusional state, or altered mental status. E, age 55, has a 2week history of altered mental status, sleep disturbance, and decreased appetite and speech. A 72yearold man presented to the emergency department with a 3day history of slurred speech, altered mental status, and unstable gait. By the time the 18ffdg pet was carried out days after admission, eeg still showed pleds maximally left temporal. Mri exams contrast vs noncontrast guide these suggestions are general guidelines that apply to the use of contrast for mri exams provided at oregon imaging centers. His family reported a 14pound weight loss over the past 3 months, along with decreased energy, shortness of breath on exertion, and fatigue. Altered mental status is a broad category that applies to geriatric patients who have a change in cognition or level of consciousness loc. Approach to altered mental status society for academic. The richmond agitation sedation scale rass is commonly used to measure a patients loc and to objectively monitor for changes. Altered mental status ams is a general term used to describe various disorders of mental functioning that can range from slight confusion to coma. See also approach to the patient with mental symptoms and introduction to the neurologic examination.223 1407 1268 294 513 1024 259 1562 51 980 470 814 466 1044 367 926 621 240 1305 703 463 878 1337 1317 1120 67 1065 1102 391