Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

A doctor will diagnose delirium based on medical history, tests to assess mental status and the identification of possible contributing factors. An examination may include:

  • Mental status assessment. A doctor starts by assessing awareness, attention and thinking. This may be done informally through conversation, or with tests or screenings that assess mental state, confusion, perception and memory.
  • Physical and neurological exams. The doctor performs a physical exam, checking for signs of health problems or underlying disease. A neurological exam — checking vision, balance, coordination and reflexes — can help determine if a stroke or another neurological disease is causing the delirium.
  • Other possible tests. The doctor may order blood, urine and other diagnostic tests. Brain-imaging tests may be used when a diagnosis can't be made with other available information.
Sept. 05, 2015