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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 389-394

Low dose adrenocorticotropic hormone test and adrenal insufficiency in critically ill acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients

1 Department of Medicine, S. Nijalingappa Medical College, Bagalkot, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Physiology, S. Nijalingappa Medical College, Bagalkot, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
P K Shashidhar
Department of Medicine, SNMC and RC, Bagalkot
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.95680

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Context: Prevalence of adrenal insufficiency (AI) is not uncommon in HIV infected population. However, AI is rarely diagnosed in clinical practice because many patients have non-specific symptoms and signs. Critical illness in such patients further complicates the evaluation of adrenal function. A 1μgm ACTH test can be used for diagnosis, since it results in more physiological levels of ACTH. A serum cortisol of <18 μg/dL, 30 or 60-minutes after ACTH test has been accepted as indicative of AI, but many experts advocate the normal cortisol response should exceed 25 μg/dL, in critically ill patients. Aim: To determine the prevalence of AI in critically ill AIDS patients, by using 1 μg ACTH test and also, to compare the diagnostic criteria for adrenal insufficiency between cortisol response of <18 μg/dL and <25 μg/dL. Settings and Design: This prospective study was done in the Department of Medicine. Materials and Methods: After taking blood for basal plasma cortisol from AIDS affected fifty adult men and women aged over 18 yrs, 1 μg ACTH was given intravenously, and blood samples were again collected at 30 and 60 minutes for plasma cortisol estimation. Statistical analysis: It was done by Mann-Whitney test. Results: Prevalence of AI was 74% (37 patients) and 92% (46 patients), when the peak stimulated cortisol level of <18 μg/dL and <25 μg/dL, respectively, was used. Conclusion: AI is more prevalent in critically ill AIDS patients. Hence, this test can be performed for early intervention and better management.

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