Surgical Progress: PDF OnlySIBBALD WILLIAM J. M.D. F.R.C.P. (C); SHORT, ALLISTIR M.B., Ch.B. (Edin.); COHEN, MARGO P. M.D.; WILSON, ROBERT F. M.D.Annals of Surgery: July 1977 - p 29-33 Buy Abstract Plasma cortisol levels and their response to .25 mg synthetic A.C.T.H. (CortrosynR) were studied in 26 septic patients. Four (15.4%) of these patients appeared to have greatly increased adrenocortical activity with plasma cortisol levels averaging 65.4 ± 14.8 μg/dl (normal = 8–18 μg/dl. All four of these patients were agonal and died within five days. Seventeen (65.4%) of these 26 patients appeared to have an appropriate adrenocortical response to severe infection in that their plasma cortisol levels increased (averaging 19.2 ± 6.0 μg/dl) following synthetic A.C.T.H. The remaining five patients, who constituted 19.2% of the 26 patients studied, appeared to have some impairment of adrenocortical function. In spite of severe bacterial infections and no history to support Addison's disease, their plasma cortisol levels (averaging 13.8 ± 3.3 μg/dl) were not increased above normal and their response to CortrosynR was much less than would be expected; the increase in plasma cortisol levels in these patients following the synthetic A.C.T.H. averaged 1.1 ± 3.6 μg/dl. It is reemphasized that patients with severe sepsis who are not responding adequately to standard therapy should be suspected of having adrenocortical insufficiency and treated accordingly. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.