ACTH (Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone)
Why do we do this test?
ACTH is an anterior pituitary hormone which acts on adrenal cortex to produce glucocorticoids (Cortisol). ACTH is used in the evaluation of disorders of anterior pituitary and adrenal cortex. Normally ACTH level increases when cortisol level is low and decreases when cortisol level is high.
It responds to fall in blood cortisol level, the hypothalamus produces corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH). Conditions that affect ACTH include Cushing disease, adrenal insufficiency (Addison disease) and hypopituitarism. It is also raised in tumours in lung.
Cortisol ACTH
Specimen Type
Plasma (EDTA)
Instructions for specimen collection & Patient preparation
Specimen container should be pre-chilled at 2 - 8 C. Collect 5 mL of blood.
Patient should be physically present at the test performing laboratory for sample collection. Sample collection should be done at 8. 00 am.
Specimen transportation & Processing
Transport frozen.
Specimen storage & stability
Soon after the collection specimen should be centrifuged in a refrigerating (2 - 8 C) centrifuge. Analyze immediately. If delayed analysis store frozen.
Specimen storage duration
Reference Intervals & Target Values
Reference intervals are method and analytical platform specific. In general 0 - 12 pmol/L.
Critical Limits
Possible Pre-analytical Errors
ACTH is a heat labile hormone. Cold chain should be maintained throughout sample transport and processing. If the cold chain not maintained reject the sample. Haemolysis and lipemia can interfere with results.
Possible Analytical Errors
Available Government Laboratories
Teaching Hospital Karapitiya, MRI, NHSL.
Recommended turnaround time
1 - 7 days.

Test Method


1. Tietz Text Book of Clinical Chemistry & Molecular Diagnostics

Last Updated : 2020-09-23 04:23:55






College of Chemical Pathologists of Sri Lanka

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