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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Medical Evaluation and Triage of the Agitated Patient: Consensus Statement of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry Project BETA Medical Evaluation Workgroup

  • Author(s): Nordstrom, Kimberly;
  • Zun, Leslie S.;
  • Wilson, Michael P.;
  • Stiebel, Victor;
  • Ng, Anthony T.;
  • Bregman, Benjamin;
  • Anderson, Eric L.;
  • Nouri, Toni
  • et al.

Numerous medical and psychiatric conditions can cause agitation, some of these causes are life threatening. It is important to be able to differentiate between medical and non-medical causes of agitation so that patients can receive appropriate and timely treatment. This article aims to educate all clinicians in non-medical settings, such as mental health clinics, and medical settings on the differing levels of severity in agitation, basic triage, use of de-escalation, and factors, symptoms, and signs in determining whether a medical etiology is likely. Lastly, this article focuses on the medical workup of agitation when a medical etiology is suspected or when etiology is unclear. [West J Emerg Med. 2012;13(1):3–10.]

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