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Adrenal Crisis in the ICU Kay Luft, MN, RN, CCRN 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Adrenal Crisis in the ICU Kay Luft, MN, RN, CCRN 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adrenal Crisis in the ICU Kay Luft, MN, RN, CCRN 2012

2 What Do These Two Have in Common??

3 Case Study: Acute Adrenal Insufficiency HPI: PJ, a 38-year-old female is admitted to the HPI: PJ, a 38-year-old female is admitted to the ED complaining of progressive fatigue for two weeks. She saw her primary physician four days ago and was told that everything was fine on her blood work-up and that her fatigue was due to depression. She also complains of nausea and vomiting and states she has lost about 16 pounds in the past two weeks. She denies any fever, chills, night sweats, cough, or dysuria. She becomes short of breath when walking only 5 to 10 feet. PMH: Mild hypertension; Premature ovarian PMH: Mild hypertension; Premature ovarian failure at age 30

4 Case Study: Acute Adrenal Insufficiency, Contd Social History: Social History: –Single parent; 2 teenaged children who live with her –Lost job as insurance underwriter one month ago –Nonsmoker; drinks socially once per month Physical Exam: Physical Exam: –Vital signs: Blood pressure 86/40, Pulse 118, Respiration 18, Temp 99° F –Appears pale, dehydrated and malnourished –Rest of exam unremarkable

5 Case Study: Acute Adrenal Insufficiency Contd Lab: Lab: –Na 129, K+ 5.7, Glucose 62, BUN 19, Creatinine 1.0 CT Scan of Abdomen: CT Scan of Abdomen: –Unable to visualize adrenal glands indicating atrophy Plan of Care: Plan of Care: –Send to the MICU for treatment and monitoring

6 What is this patients most likely medical diagnosis? What are the clues?

7 What Is Adrenal Crisis? A medical emergency characterized by severe cardiovascular compromise, shock, coma, and possibly death A medical emergency characterized by severe cardiovascular compromise, shock, coma, and possibly death Is due to severe fluid and electrolyte imbalances related to decreased production of adrenocortical hormones as result of: Is due to severe fluid and electrolyte imbalances related to decreased production of adrenocortical hormones as result of: –Impaired function of the adrenal glands (primary type) –Inadequate stimulation of the adrenal glands by the anterior pituitary (secondary type)

8 Causes of Adrenal Crisis

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10 Summary of Causes of Adrenal Crisis Exacerbation of Addisons disease (chronic adrenal insufficiency) – often triggered by extreme stress or failure to comply with medication (steroids) regime Exacerbation of Addisons disease (chronic adrenal insufficiency) – often triggered by extreme stress or failure to comply with medication (steroids) regime Acute physiologic stress: trauma, surgery, severe infection and/or illness Acute physiologic stress: trauma, surgery, severe infection and/or illness Bilateral adrenal hemorrhage (Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome) Bilateral adrenal hemorrhage (Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome) Adrenalectomy or hypophysectomy Adrenalectomy or hypophysectomy Extreme psychological stress Extreme psychological stress

11 Quick Review of Normal Adrenal Physiology

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13 Pathophysiology of Adrenal Crisis Adrenal crisis is associated with inadequate production or release of glucocorticoids (cortisol) and mineralocorticoids (aldosterone). Adrenal crisis is associated with inadequate production or release of glucocorticoids (cortisol) and mineralocorticoids (aldosterone). Adrenocortical hormones are necessary for maintaining normal glucose, sodium, and fluid balance in the body. Adrenocortical hormones are necessary for maintaining normal glucose, sodium, and fluid balance in the body. Aldosterone deficiency causes large urinary loss of sodium and water quickly leading to severe hyponatremia and hypovolemia. Aldosterone deficiency causes large urinary loss of sodium and water quickly leading to severe hyponatremia and hypovolemia. As result of hyponatremia, hyperkalemia and metabolic acidosis often occur. As result of hyponatremia, hyperkalemia and metabolic acidosis often occur.

14 Pathophysiology of Adrenal Crisis, Contd Hypovolemia is intensified by glucocorticoid deficiency as result of decreased vascular tone and decreased vascular response to circulating catacholamines (epinephrine & norepinephrine). Hypovolemia is intensified by glucocorticoid deficiency as result of decreased vascular tone and decreased vascular response to circulating catacholamines (epinephrine & norepinephrine). Cortisol depletion quickly leads to hypoglycemia as body is unable to maintain blood glucose levels in the fasting state. Cortisol depletion quickly leads to hypoglycemia as body is unable to maintain blood glucose levels in the fasting state. Without treatment, severe hypotension, severe hypoglycemia, coma, and death will ensue. Without treatment, severe hypotension, severe hypoglycemia, coma, and death will ensue.

15 Remember the Deficiency in 3 Ss: Sodium (and water) Sodium (and water) Sugar (glucose) Sugar (glucose) Steroid (esp. cortisol & aldosterone) Steroid (esp. cortisol & aldosterone)

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17 One Sick Puppy

18 Clinical Manifestations of Adrenal Crisis Profound hypotension (especially postural) Profound hypotension (especially postural) Confusion Confusion Muscle weakness Muscle weakness Fatigue, lethargy Fatigue, lethargy Tachycardia Tachycardia Decreased urinary output Decreased urinary output Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea Abdominal pain Abdominal pain Severe weight loss Severe weight loss Possible hyperthermia Possible hyperthermia

19 Diagnostic Findings Related to Adrenal Crisis Laboratory: hyponatremia ( 5 mEq/L), decreased serum glucose ( 5 mEq/L), decreased serum glucose (<80 mg/L), decreased serum cortisol (<15 mcg/dl) & aldosterone levels, possible hypercalcemia ECG: signs of hyperkalemia (peaked T waves, widened QRS, lengthened PR interval, flattened or absent p waves, possible asystole) ECG: signs of hyperkalemia (peaked T waves, widened QRS, lengthened PR interval, flattened or absent p waves, possible asystole)

20 Diagnostic Findings Related to Adrenal Crisis Hemodynamic: Decreased BP, CVP and PAWP; Increased heart rate; Consult physician for BP 120 bpm Hemodynamic: Decreased BP, CVP and PAWP; Increased heart rate; Consult physician for BP 120 bpm

21 ACTH Stimulation Test

22 Collaborative Treatment of Adrenal Crisis Expected Outcomes (within 8 hours of initiating treatment): Expected Outcomes (within 8 hours of initiating treatment): –BP within patients normal range –HR bpm –CVP 2-6 mm Hg –PAWP 6-12 mm Hg –Normal sinus rhythm on ECG –Patient alert and oriented –*** UO may not return to normal for a few days

23 Collaborative Treatment of Adrenal Crisis, Contd Identification and Treatment of Initial Cause Identification and Treatment of Initial Cause Fluid Replacement Fluid Replacement –Rapid volume restoration is goal –D5NS is IV fluid of choice –Volume expanders (hetastarch) possible if hypotension persists

24 Collaborative Treatment of Adrenal Crisis, Contd Glucocorticoid Replacement Glucocorticoid Replacement –Immediate IV bolus of Hydrocortisone (Solu-Cortef), followed by maintenance doses every 6 to 8 hours Mineralocorticoid Replacement: Mineralocorticoid Replacement: –Generally unnecessary b/o mineralocorticoid effects of hydrocortisone –If emergency treatment needed, fludrocortisone is drug of choice

25 Collaborative Treatment of Adrenal Crisis, Contd Glucose Replacement Glucose Replacement –Generally sufficient with IV fluids, but patient may need Dextrose 50% initially Sodium Replacement Sodium Replacement –Generally sufficient with IV fluids, but patient may need NaHCO3 initially –Correction of sodium imbalance will shift K+ back into normal balance

26 Collaborative Treatment of Adrenal Crisis, Contd Vasopressors Vasopressors –May be used if initial treatments are ineffective –Response to vasopressors, catecholamines, and inotropic agents is DECREASED for patients in adrenal crisis

27 Collaborative Treatment of Adrenal Crisis, Contd Close monitoring of vital signs, PAP readings, lab results, cardiac rhythm, I&O, & neuro status Close monitoring of vital signs, PAP readings, lab results, cardiac rhythm, I&O, & neuro status Oral & skin care Oral & skin care Promote rest Promote rest

28 Back to Our Patient What treatment does PJ need INITIALLY? What treatment does PJ need INITIALLY? What indicators will reflect improvement in PJs condition? What indicators will reflect improvement in PJs condition? What follow-up care and teaching may PJ need? What follow-up care and teaching may PJ need?

29 Dont Forget the Teaching!!

30 Questions???

31 References Alspach, J. G. (2006). Core curriculum for critical care nursing (6th ed.). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders. McCance, K. L., & Huether, S. E. (2006). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (5th ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier/Mosby. Schell, H. M., & Puntillo, K. A. (2006). Critical care nursing secrets (2nd ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier/Mosby. Swearingen, P. L., & Keen, J. H. (1995). Manual of critical care nursing (3rd. ed.). St. Louis: Mosby. Urden, L. D., Stacy, K. M., & Lough, M. E. (2010). Critical care nursing: Diagnosis and management (6th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.


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