Description: This is a comprehensive reference of laboratory tests and their role in various psychiatric diseases and conditions as well as their use in screening and monitoring different psychotropic medications.
Purpose: It is intended as a reference for psychiatrists of appropriate laboratory tests and other objective tests that may impact the psychiatric presentation of their patient population.
Audience: The target audience includes "psychiatrists and other behavioral health clinicians" who provide care in several different inpatient and outpatient settings. While anyone providing psychiatric care would benefit from this book, likely psychiatrists involved in hospital-based psychiatric care including consult and liaison, emergency room, and inpatient psychiatry would benefit the most.
Features: An introduction outlines the importance of the often overlooked area of laboratory medicine in psychiatry and explains the basic principles behind common tests. The first section provides information on 168 different laboratory tests, including neuroimaging, in a table format that details the type of the test, an explanation of the test, why the test is relevant to psychiatry, indications, reference range, reasons for increased and decreased levels, critical values, interfering factors, preparation of the patient, and cross-references for the conditions found in the next section. The second section continues the table format for 124 diseases and conditions, covering clinical diagnosis and the important laboratory testing detailed in the first section. The third section reviews the screening and monitoring laboratory tests for various psychotropic medications. Three appendixes include a chart of therapeutic and toxic drug levels, additional information on neuroimaging, and more detailed information on cardiac-related tests including algorithms for electrocardiograms and medical evaluation for electroconvulsive shock therapy. References appear at the bottom of each table in each section and at the end of the book. A helpful index concludes the book.
Assessment: This is the single most complete reference on laboratory tests and their role in psychiatry. It is easy to use, very concise, and complete in its entirety. Psychiatrists needs this book, as the assumption is often made that patients are "medically cleared" by the time they are working with psychiatrists, which leads to some complacency on the psychiatrists' part regarding important further laboratory tests. Further, research shows the unacceptably low rates of screening and monitoring for patients taking various psychotropic medications. Some areas of improvement for this book would include adding sections on pediatrics. I would also recommend separating neuroimaging tests and cardiac tests into their own sections instead of including them in the general laboratory tests section.