Toxic Shock Syndrome (cont.)
Toxic Shock Syndrome Diagnosis
No specific test exists to help diagnose toxic shock syndrome. In the emergency department, the doctor usually starts by asking the person some questions about his or her symptoms over the past few days. Vital signs are taken, and the person is examined. If the doctor suspects toxic shock syndrome based on the physical exam, a few other procedures are performed. The person is connected to a heart monitor, and multiple IV lines are placed on the person.
- If the doctor suspects toxic shock syndrome, the following tests are usually performed:
- Blood is drawn to check blood counts, electrolytes, and liver and kidney functions. An elevated white blood cell count, elevated liver enzymes, abnormal electrolytes, and abnormal kidney function may be consistent with toxic shock syndrome.
- Women undergo a pelvic exam.
- A chest X-ray film may reveal abnormalities, such as fluid in the lungs.
- An electrocardiogram (ECG), which traces the electrical activity of the heart, may be performed.
- Tests are likely performed to exclude other disease possibilities, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and measles.
Joseph S Bushra, MD, FAAEM
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