Adrenal insufficiency in neonates undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass and postoperative hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function after prophylactic glucocorticoids

Anson Tang, Charles R Rosenfeld, Michel Mikhael, Michael J. McPhaul, Joshua D Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Determine incidence of preoperative adrenal insufficiency in neonates >35 weeks gestation with congenital heart disease undergoing cardiothoracic surgery with bypass and effects of prophylactic methylprednisolone on postoperative hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function and hemodynamic stability. Design: Prospective observational study in 36 neonates with preoperative adrenocorticotrophic hormone stimulation tests and serial total cortisol and adrenocorticotrophic hormone measurements before and after surgery. Data analyses: analysis of variance and regression. Results: Baseline circulating adrenocorticotrophic hormone and cortisol were unchanged 4–20 days postnatal (P > 0.1); however, cortisol levels rose with increasing adrenocorticotrophic hormone, P = 0.02. Ten neonates (29%) demonstrated preoperative adrenal insufficiency (∆cortisol ≤9 µg/dl); one had postoperative hemodynamic instability. Growth-restricted neonates had lower baseline cortisol, but normal stimulation tests and responded well to surgical stresses. Seventy-five percent of neonates receiving perioperative methylprednisolone demonstrated postoperative hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal inhibition. Conclusion: Adrenal insufficiency appears common in neonates >35 weeks gestation with congenital heart disease, but did not contribute to postoperative hemodynamic instability despite hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Perinatology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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