Adrenal function evaluation in critically ill dogs with low doses of synthetic ACTH
The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis function may be impaired in patients with critical illnesses, especially cases of sepsis, named critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency (CIRCI). This study examined the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in normal dogs (n = 10) and dogs with critical diseases (n = 16), through determinations of endogenous ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), basal cortisol and cortisol after stimulation in low doses of synthetic ACTH (1.0μg/kg/IV). The stimulation test with ACTH dose tested was verified as effective for evaluation of adrenal function in healthy and sick dogs. Ill dogs differed from healthy dogs by presenting higher basal cortisol values. Eight sick dogs presented a decrease in endogenous ACTH, basal cortisol, or Δ-cortisol. No significant differences were found between the control groups and critically ill dogs for the values of endogenous ACTH, cortisol after stimulation or Δ-cortisol. We concluded that the stimulation test with low-dose ACTH was effective for evaluation of adrenal function, as well as the fact that a considerable portion of critically ill dogs studied here, especially with sepsis, had evidence of inadequate corticosteroid response to stress.
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