Hypercortisolism revealed by the dexamethasone suppression test in patients [corrected] with acute ischemic stroke.
Using the dexamethasone suppression test, we studied the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis within the first week after onset in 62 patients with acute ischemic stroke. Compared with two control groups (one comprising 25 elderly patients with various acute medical disorders and the other comprising 33 80-year-old volunteers), stroke patients had higher postdexamethasone cortisol levels (p = 0.08 and p = 0.001, respectively). By multiple regression analysis, high postdexamethasone cortisol levels in the stroke patients were significantly associated with proximity of the lesion to the frontal pole of the brain (p = 0.008) and with disorientation (p = 0.03), whereas no association with major depression was seen. Many stroke patients are exposed to hypercortisolism, which may have negative consequences upon organ functions. The extent to which dexamethasone administration suppresses cortisol levels seems to be determined mainly by the site of brain lesion and cannot be used as an indicator of major depression early after stroke.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association