What Happens at A Short Synacthen Test – And What is it?
Today, after a few weeks wait I am having a short synacthen test (SST). Some Spoonies out there might already know what this is, but for the uninformed like me, this is what it is.
A short synacthen test is given to people who have had a previous blood test and showing low cortisol. It tests how well the adrenal glands are performing. We have 2 adrenal glands, about a pea size, over the kidneys.
A cannula is put into a vein in the arm, and a sample of blood is taken. Then a shot of hormone called ACTH or Adrenocorticotropic hormone is put into the cannula. This is given to stimulate the adrenals. Then you are asked to wait for about 30 minutes for the ACTH to kick in. Then another 2 types of blood are taken 30 Min and 40 Min’s later.
In my experience having the cannula put in is relatively painless, for those that are phobic of needles. However having the ACTH was a strange feeling. For the first few seconds, I didn’t feel anything. Then I suddenly felt very warm and quite sick as well. This feeling went off within a few minutes, but it was a bit unpleasant.
After the 30 minutes were up I went back into the test room to have my blood drawn and then again 10 minutes later.
The whole procedure lasts about 1 hour and basically involves sitting around with a needle in your arm!
What are the outcomes?
Aside from looking at how the adrenals are working over all, you may be told you have adrenal fatigue or Addison’s disease. I will write about these in follow up posts and when I have the results from my SST.