Three calculations of free cortisol versus measured values in the critically ill

N (Nienke) Molenaar, Johan Groeneveld, MFC de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To investigate the agreement between the calculated free cortisol levels according to widely applied Coolens and adjusted Sodergard equations with measured levels in the critically ill. Design and methods: A prospective study in a mixed intensive care unit. We consecutively included 103 patients with treatment-insensitive hypotension in whom an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) test (250 mu g) was performed. Serum total and free cortisol (equilibrium dialysis), corticosteroid-binding globulin and albumin were assessed. Free cortisol was estimated by the Coolens method (C) and two adjusted Sodergard (S1 and S2) equations. Bland Altman plots were made. Results: The bias for absolute (t = 0,30 and 60 min after ACTH injection) cortisol levels was 38, -24, 41 nmol/L when the C, S1 and S2 equations were used, with 95% limits of agreement between 65-142, -182-135, and -57-139 nmol/L and percentage errors of 66, 85, and 64%, respectively. Bias for delta (peak-baseline) cortisol was 14, -31 and 16 nmol/l, with 95% limits of agreement between -80-108, -157-95, and -74-105 nmol/L, and percentage errors of 107, 114, and 100% for C, S1 and S2 equations, respectively. Conclusions: Calculated free cortisol levels have too high bias and imprecision to allow for acceptable use in the critically ill. (C) 2015 The Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1053-1058
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Biochemistry
Issue number16-17
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this