Clinical Factors Associated with Biochemical Adrenal-Cortisol Insufficiency in Hospitalized Patients.

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Clinical Factors Associated with Biochemical Adrenal-Cortisol Insufficiency in Hospitalized Patients.

Am J Med. 2014 Mar 12;

Authors: Ben-Shlomo A, Mirocha J, Gwin SM, Khine AK, Liu NA, Sheinin RC, Melmed S

BACKGROUND: Diagnosis of adrenal-cortisol insufficiency is often misleading in hospitalized patients as clinical and biochemical features overlap with co-morbidities. We analyzed clinical determinants associated with a biochemical diagnosis of adrenal-cortisol insufficiency in non-ICU hospitalized patients.
METHODS: In a retrospective cohort study we reviewed 4668 inpatients with random morning cortisol levels ≤15 μg/dL hospitalized in our center between 2003 and 2010. Using serum cortisol threshold level of 18 μg/dL 30 and/or 60 minutes after cortrosyn (250 μg) injection to define biochemical adrenal-cortisol status, we characterized and compared insufficient (n=108, serum cortisol ≤18 μg/dL) and sufficient ( n=394; serum cortisol >18 μg/dL) non-ICU hospitalized patients.
RESULTS: Commonly reported clinical and routine biochemical adrenal-cortisol insufficiency features were similar between insufficient and sufficient inpatients. Biochemical adrenal-cortisol insufficiency was associated with increased frequency of liver disease, specifically hepatitis C (p=0.01) and prior orthotopic liver transplantation (p<0.001), HIV (p=0.005) and reported pre-existing male hypogonadism (p<0.001) as compared to biochemical adrenal-cortisol sufficiency group. Forty percent of insufficient inpatients were not treated with glucocorticoids after diagnosis. Multivariable logistic analysis demonstrated that inpatients with higher cortisol levels (p=0.0001), higher diastolic blood pressure (p=0.05) and females (p=0.009) were more likely not to be treated, while those with previous short-term glucocorticoid treatment (p=0.002), had other co-existing endocrine diseases (p=0.005) or received an inhospital endocrinology consultation (p<0.0001) were more likely to be replaced with glucocorticoids.
CONCLUSIONS: Commonly reported adrenal-cortisol insufficiency features do not reliably identify hospitalized patients biochemically confirmed to have this disorder. Co-morbidities including hepatitis C, prior orthotopic liver transplantation, HIV, and reported pre-existing male hypogonadism may help identify hospitalized non-ICU patients for more rigorous adrenal insufficiency assessment.

PMID: 24632056 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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