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Acute adrenal insufficiency after cardiac surgery

Serrano, Nicolás MD, MSc, PhD; Jiménez, Juan-José MD; Brouard, Maria-Teresa MD; Málaga, Javier MD; Mora, Maria-Luisa MD, PhD

Case Reports

Adrenal insufficiency after cardiac surgery can easily be confused during the course of an immediate unstable postoperative period. If unrecognized, this condition may cause serious morbidity and can be fatal. We report on a 43-yr-old female patient with chronic known adrenal insufficiency, who, despite her adequate preoperative replacement therapy, presented with one episode of acute hypoadrenal crisis after elective open heart surgery, which could serve as a model to illustrate the salient clinical features and possible problems in this setting for diagnosing this problem to patients in whom chronic adrenal insufficiency remains unknown.

From the Hospital Universitario de Canarias, Universidad de La Laguna, Intensive Care Unit, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

Address requests for reprints to: Nicolás Serrano, MD, Hospital Universitario de Canarias, P.O. Box 273, Intensive Care Unit, 38320 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain. E-mail:

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