Alternate Names : Serum Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
This test measures the amount of adrenocorticotropic
hormone, known as ACTH, in the blood. ACTH is a hormone made by the
pituitary gland. It regulates the production and secretion of the hormone
cortisol by the adrenal gland.
Who is a candidate for the test?
This test is normally performed on persons with whose
hormone levels are not in a healthy range. A doctor may suspect a
link with problems in the pituitary gland or the adrenal gland.
How is the test performed?
To measure ACTH levels, a blood sample is taken from
a vein on the forearm or hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned
with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube called a tourniquet is wrapped
around the upper arm. This restricts blood flow in the veins in the lower
arm and enlarges them. A fine needle is inserted into a vein,
and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the
needle and is collected in a vial for testing in the laboratory. After the
needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to