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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Jul 15;182(2):246-51. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200911-1738OC. Epub 2010 Mar 18.

A prospective multicenter study of adrenal function in critically ill children.

Author information

1
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1S 3H2 Canada. menon@cheo.on.ca

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Adrenal insufficiency is a clinical condition associated with fluid- and catecholamine-resistant hypotension.

OBJECTIVES:

The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of adrenal insufficiency, risk factors and potential mechanisms for its development, and its association with clinically important outcomes in critically ill children.

METHODS:

A prospective, cohort study was conducted from 2005 to 2008 in seven tertiary-care, pediatric intensive care units in Canada on patients up to 17 years of age with existing vascular access. Adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation tests (1 microg) were performed and adrenocorticotropic hormone levels measured in all participants.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

A total of 381 patients had adrenal testing on admission. The prevalence of adrenal insufficiency was 30.2% (95% confidence interval, 25.9-35.1). Patients with adrenal insufficiency had higher baseline cortisol levels (28.6 microg/dl vs. 16.7 microg/dl, P < 0.001) and were significantly older (11.5 yr vs. 2.3 yr, P < 0.001) than those without adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal insufficiency was associated with an increased need for catecholamines (P < 0.001) and more fluid boluses (P = 0.026). The sensitivity and specificity of the low-dose adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation test were 100% and 84%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adrenal insufficiency occurs in many disease conditions in critically ill children and is associated with an increased use of catecholamines and fluid boluses. It is likely multifactorial in etiology and is associated with high baseline cortisol levels. Further research is necessary to determine which of these critically ill children are truly cortisol deficient before any treatment recommendations can be made.

PMID:
20299532
PMCID:
PMC5003603
DOI:
10.1164/rccm.200911-1738OC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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