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Psychosomatics. 2013 Jan-Feb;54(1):60-6. doi: 10.1016/j.psym.2012.08.007. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

Drug screens for psychiatric patients in the emergency department: evaluation and recommendations.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital. dskroll@partners.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To better understand how toxicology screening for psychiatric patients in the emergency department (ED) setting affects diagnostic decisions.

METHODS:

Retrospective chart review of 439 ED visits of adult patients receiving psychiatry consultations at two hospitals, one an academic medical center (n =224) and the other a community hospital (n = 220), between July 2008 and February 2009. Clinical, demographic, and ED length of stay (LOS) information was abstracted from the psychiatry consultation notes and the medical records.

RESULTS:

Positive urine toxicology results, when combined with a basic substance abuse history, were not associated independently with a patient's receiving a substance-related diagnosis as part of the psychiatric assessment. By contrast, a positive blood alcohol level was associated independently with a patient's receiving one of these diagnoses while a positive alcohol use history was not.

CONCLUSIONS:

Urine toxicology screens do not add significant diagnostic value to all ED psychiatric evaluations when combined with standard substance use histories.

PMID:
23194932
PMCID:
PMC3743233
DOI:
10.1016/j.psym.2012.08.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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