Adrenocorticotropic Hormone

The adrenocorticotropic hormone test is also called an ACTH test. This test is a study of the anterior pituitary gland (a gland in the brain) and how much adrenocorticotropic hormone it is producing.

This test looks at the causes of:

  • Cushing's syndrome. This is when too much hormone is produced.

  • Addison's disease. This is when too little hormone is produced.

The levels of this hormone vary with the time of day and are highest in the morning. This variation is called diurnal variation. This means daily changes.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

  • Do not eat after midnight.

  • Blood may be drawn in the AM and PM to check on the diurnal variation (or morning and evening levels).

NORMAL FINDINGS

Adults: 6-76 pg/ml (1.3-16.7 pmol/L)

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.