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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Workup

  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jul 19, 2016
 

Laboratory Studies

The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is based on clinical evaluation. No laboratory-based medical tests are available to confirm the diagnosis.

Basic laboratory studies that may help confirm diagnosis and aid in treatment are as follows:

  • Serum CBC count with differential
  • Electrolyte levels
  • Liver function tests (before beginning stimulant therapy)
  • Thyroid function tests
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Imaging Studies

Brain imaging, such as functional MRI or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans have been useful for research, but no clinical indication exists for these procedures because the diagnosis is clinical.

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Other Tests

The Conners Parent-Teacher Rating Scale is a questionnaire that can be given to both the parents and the child's teachers.

Barkley Home Situations Questionnaire may be useful.

The Wender Utah Rating Scale may be helpful in diagnosing ADHD in adults.

The Continuous Performance Tests (CPTs) are computer-based tasks that often are used to test attention and may be used in conjunction with clinical information to make a diagnosis. A currently popular example is the Test of Variable Attention (TOVA). While these tests can be supportive of the diagnosis in a full clinical evaluation, they have low sensitivity and specificity and should not be the sole basis for diagnosis.

Vision and hearing should be checked.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Stephen Soreff, MD President of Education Initiatives, Nottingham, NH; Faculty, Boston University, Boston, MA and Daniel Webster College, Nashua, NH

Stephen Soreff, MD is a member of the following medical societies: ACMHA: The College for Behavioral Health Leadership

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Glen L Xiong, MD Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine; Medical Director, Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center

Glen L Xiong, MD is a member of the following medical societies: AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, American College of Physicians, American Psychiatric Association, Central California Psychiatric Society

Disclosure: Received royalty from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins for book editor; Received grant/research funds from National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression for independent contractor; Received consulting fee from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association for consulting. for: Received book royalty from American Psychiatric Publishing Inc.

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