Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adrenal response after trauma is affected by time after trauma and sedative/analgesic drugs.

Brorsson C, Dahlqvist P, Nilsson L, Thunberg J, Sylvan A, Naredi S
 Injury. 2014 Aug;45(8):1149-55

The aim of this study was to assess the early adrenal response after trauma.


Prospective, observational study of 50 trauma patients admitted to a level-1-trauma centre. Serum and saliva cortisol were followed from the accident site up to five days after trauma. Corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and sulphated dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) were obtained twice during the first five days after trauma. The effect of time and associations between cortisol levels and; severity of trauma, infusion of sedative/analgesic drugs, cardiovascular dysfunction and other adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) dependent hormones (DHEA/DHEAS) were studied.


There was a significant decrease over time in serum cortisol both during the initial 24h, and from the 2nd to the 5th morning after trauma. A significant decrease over time was also observed in calculated free cortisol, DHEA, and DHEAS. No significant association was found between an injury severity score≥16 (severe injury) and a low (<200nmol/L) serum cortisol at any time during the study period. The odds for a serum cortisol <200nmol/L was eight times higher in patients with continuous infusion of sedative/analgesic drugs compared to patients with no continuous infusion of sedative/analgesic drugs.


Total serum cortisol, calculated free cortisol, DHEA and DHEAS decreased significantly over time after trauma. Continuous infusion of sedative/analgesic drugs was independently associated with serum cortisol <200nmol/L.

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