Cortisol Quantification Investigation

Protocol Description

This study compares two ways of measuring the level of a hormone in the blood called cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands and helps control energy, sugar levels and blood pressure. Usually blood cortisol levels grow as illness stress increases, and researchers believe that cortisol may be important in helping patients get better when they are severely ill. The traditional method of measuring cortisol requires several days to yield results, whereas a new method yields results in approximately 2 hours. The study will determine whether the new test provides the same results as the traditional method. Additionally, researchers will study the importance of cortisol in severely ill children and why some children make less cortisol in response to stress than others. Further, it will evaluate the role of cortisol metabolism genotypes in determining cortisol levels.

Eligibility Criteria

Boys and girls through age 17, who are patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with illness-associated stress may be eligible to participate in this study.
Males: Infants through age 17
Females: Infants through age 17


While in the PICU, a single blood sample will be taken from the patient’s existing catheter to measure cortisol levels and to examine genetic factors that may affect its production.
Visits: Occurs while patient is in the PICU
Duration: 1 day

Status: Open for Enrollment

Source(s) of Support

National Institutes of Health

Primary Investigator

Joseph Carcillo, MD

Contact Information

To get started, please contact:
Joseph Carcillo, MD