The Performance of Serum Cortisol, Plasma Corticotropin and Serum Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Levels in the Diagnosis of Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Dysfunction
There is no single test can identify hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysfunction (HPAD) perfectly. The study aimed to assess the performance of measuring serum cortisol, serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) and plasma corticotropin (ACTH) in comparison with standard-dose short cosyntropin (250 µg) testing for the diagnosis of HPAD.
This is a cross-sectional study from Al-Faiha Specialized Diabetes, Endocrine, and Metabolism Center (FDEMC) in Basrah. For all patients with suspected HAD; baseline serum cortisol, serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) and plasma corticotropin (ACTH) and were measured, followed by a formal short cosyntropin test as the gold standard test.
The total number of the study participant was 169 patients. Of them, 134 (79.3%) were women. Their age ranges from 5-80 years. The cutoff serum cortisol that predicts abnormal short cosyntropin test was less than 5.31µg/dl with maximal sensitivity and specificity of 90.4 % and 92.3% respectively. The cutoff serum DHEA-S that predict abnormal short cosyntropin test was less than 31.11 µg/dl with a sensitivity of 89.2%and specificity of 62.7%.The least reliable parameter to predict the abnormal short cosyntropin was the plasma ACTH level with a cutoff of less than 5.30 pg/ml and lowest sensitivity of 89.2% and specificity of 62.7%.
To exclude HPAD, serum cortisol at 9-11 am having the highest predictive value, DHEA-S has the midway function and plasma ACTH is the least reliable for that. Combination of serum cortisol and serum DHEA-S yield the best performance for combinations of test.
Keywords: Hypothalamic pituitaryadrenal dysfunction, short cosyntropin test, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, corticotropin,cortisol.
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