Radiographic and Other Studies

1. Neuroimaging (CT or MRI scan). Obtain a neuroimaging study for all patients with altered mental status. If patient has a normal exam and only a history of altered arousal, study is not needed emergently. MRI is a more sensitive exam; however, sedation is often necessary because patient must remain still for a prolonged period of time.

2. EEG. The gold standard for seizures; can demonstrate cerebral cortical dysfunction due to generalized encephalopathy or localized destructive or space-occupying lesion.

3. ECG. Obtain if a cardiac disorder is suspected.

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