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Cushing's Syndrome: Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone

Topic Overview

The corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) stimulation test helps determine whether a pituitary tumor may be causing Cushing's syndrome. It is sometimes done with an inferior petrosal sinus sampling (IPSS) test.

In these tests, a small tube (catheter) is used to collect samples from blood vessels coming from the pituitary gland near the brain and also from a vein in your arm. You will get an injection of CRH, and samples of your blood near your pituitary gland and from your arm are taken.

If these blood samples show high levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol, it usually indicates that the pituitary gland has a tumor.

If blood levels of ACTH and cortisol do not rise, your doctor may then look for an adrenal tumor or a cancerous tumor elsewhere in your body.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last Revised January 10, 2012

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