Do All Adult Psychiatric Patients Need Routine Laboratory Evaluation and an Electrocardiogram?

Brit Long, Samuel M. Keim, Marian Betz, Michael Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Acute psychiatric presentations account for a significant number of emergency department (ED) visits. These patients require assessment by the emergency physician and often need further evaluation by a psychiatrist, who may request routine laboratory evaluation and an electrocardiogram (ECG). Clinical Question: Do all adult psychiatric patients need routine laboratory evaluation and an ECG? Evidence Review: Studies retrieved included 2 prospective, observational studies and 7 retrospective studies. These studies evaluate the utility of laboratory analysis in all patients presenting a psychiatric complaint and its impact on patient management and disposition. Conclusion: Based upon the available literature, routine laboratory analysis and ECG for all patients presenting with a psychiatric complaint are not recommended. Clinicians should consider the individual patient, clinical situation, and comorbidities when deciding to obtain further studies such as laboratory analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-721
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • clinical clearance
  • electrocardiogram
  • laboratory
  • medical stability
  • psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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