Adrenal Insufficiency in Hemorrhagic Shock

Rushing, G. D.; Britt, R. C.; Collins, J. N.; Cole, F. J.; Weireter, L. J.; Britt, L. D.
June 2006
American Surgeon;Jun2006, Vol. 72 Issue 6, p552
Academic Journal
Adrenal insufficiency during sepsis is well documented. The association between hemorrhagic shock and adrenal insufficiency is unclear and may be related to ischemia, necrosis, or resuscitation. This study was designed to determine the incidence of relative adrenal insufficiency in hemorrhagic shock. A retrospective review of a prospectively gathered database for patients admitted to the trauma intensive care unit with hemorrhagic shock was undertaken. A random serum cortisol of <25 mcg/dL defined relative adrenal insufficiency. All of the cortisol levels were drawn within the first 24 hours of admission. Data analyzed included demographics, length of stay, injury mechanism, infections, and mortality. Fifteen patients presented with hemorrhagic shock, with 14 of 15 meeting the criteria for relative adrenal insufficiency. The average serum cortisol level was 15.8 (9-26.8). The average APACHE 11 score was 18.3 (4-33), and the average Injury Severity Score was 22.5 (8-41). The mechanism was blunt trauma in 10 patients and penetrating trauma in 5. The average intensive care unit and hospital length of stay were 13.2 and 27.4 days, respectively. There were five urinary tract infections, four blood stream infections, and two wound infections. Two of the 15 patients died. Relative adrenal insufficiency appears to be common in hemorrhagic shock. Future research is warranted to elucidate the pathophysiology, as well as to prospectively determine which patients may benefit from steroid replacement.


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