Diseases & Conditions

ACTH Stimulation Test

Results and Values

What do the test results mean?

In a healthy person, an injection of ACTH will stimulate the adrenal glands. An increase in cortisol results.

If cortisol levels do not rise after the injection of ACTH, the following conditions may be present:

  • acute adrenal crisis, which is a condition in which the adrenal glands suddenly stop working the way they should
  • Addison disease, which is caused by too low a level of ACTH in a damaged adrenal gland
  • Cushing syndrome, which is caused by having too high a level of ACTH
  • hypopituitarism, which is a decrease in activity of the pituitary gland
  • pituitary tumor, which is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland