Association between plasma cortisol and death or vasopressor refractory hypotension in preterm neonates: a prospective, cohort study
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OBJECTIVES: Temporal relation between adrenal insufficiency and hypotension is poorly understood. We examined the association between basal and post-stimulation cortisol and death or vasopressor refractory hypotension in preterm neonates. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study in ≤30 weeks' and/or <1,250 g weight. Primary outcome-composite of death or vasopressor refractory hypotension by day 14 of life. Plasma cortisol levels were measured at 24-36 h (T1), 72-84 h (T2) and 10 days (T3), and post-stimulation cortisol at T1 and later at T2 and T3 if the adrenal response was inadequate earlier. RESULTS: Basal cortisol (µg/dl) at 24-36 h was significantly higher in the outcome group (37.2 ± 21.1 vs. 22.04 ± 14.6; mean difference (MD) (95% confidence interval (CI)): -15.1 (-23.6, -6.6); p = 0.005). High basal cortisol at 24-36 h (odds ratio (OR) (95% CI): 1.044 (1.009, 1.079); p = 0.01) and need for ventilation (OR (95% CI): 9.7 (1.2, 81.2); p = 0.04) independently increased the risk of death or vasopressor refractory hypotension. CONCLUSION: Preterm neonates who died or developed vasopressor refractory hypotension by day 14 had significantly elevated basal cortisol at 24-36 h of life.
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