Cortisol Stim Test

  1. Hello all,

    I've been having a little difficulty understanding a frequently ordered test in our ICU. The Cortisol Stim Test. Now I know know it is done, I'm just having difficulty interpretting the results and their clinical significance....

    Can anyone help me?????

    Thank you-so much in advance

    From the White Mountains of NH

  2. Visit gcj95 profile page

    About gcj95

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 10
    Specialty: 22 year(s) of experience in Critical Care


  3. by   elthia
    I'm a bit fuzzy on this, others can feel free to clarify.. but basically

    In primary adrenal insufficiency and Addison's disease the base cortisol will be low 10- teens and after the cosyntropin (med) it will rise about 25%.

    In secondary adrenal insufficency the base cortisol will be low about 10mcg/dl, and after the cosyntropin is delivered it will double, triple.

    In a healthy person, the cortisol level should go from about 20mcg/dl to at least 50mcg/dl.

    Nausea, anxiety, sweating and dizziness are normal side effects. Some pts actually report no side effects or report feeling better. Fainting, severe dizziness, irregular hearbeat, dyspnea and rash are rare side effects and I've never had this happen to me, but it has happened to a pt on my floor once.

    Pt's do need to be NPO for the procedure, so we usually do the test at 0500.
  4. by   WalkieTalkie
    The ACTH is done to screen septic patients for adrenal insufficiency. However, it is now recommended to give low-dose steroids despite what the results of this test may be. The test may be more helpful later on when the steroids are being tapered.
  5. by   tri-rn
    My understanding was that the test needs to be administered in the early am to take advantage of the natural rise/fall of cortisone levels?
  6. by   gcj95
    Thank-you, all for the information, This does help me understand