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Research Article

Short ACTH test in assessing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical function.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 31 January 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:249
  1. H Kehlet,
  2. M Blichert-Toft,
  3. J Lindholm,
  4. P Rasmussen


    The adrenocortical response to the simple 30-minute ACTH stimulation test was compared with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) response to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia in 25 patients with various degrees of hypothalamic-pituitary malfunction. The correlations between the increase in plasma cortisol during insulin hypoglycaemia and that during ACTH stimulation (r = 0-66) and between peak plasma cortisol levels during the two tests (r = 0-90) were highly significant. Peak plasma cortisol levels in individual patients were similar on both tests, no patient showing any major discrepancy between the two test results. Thus the simple 30-minute ACTH stimulation test seems to be reliable in detecting imparied HPA function.