What is a short synacthen test?

It is a test to check the amount of cortisol in your body and to check how well your body can produce cortisol.

What is cortisol?

Cortisol is one of the essential steroid hormones to keep you healthy. You can be unwell if this hormone is too low or too high.

What do I need to do before the test?

It will be better to have the test in the morning. You will be requested to remain in bed during the test. You should not have the test if you have significant asthma.

How will the test be performed?

You will be asked to lie flat for the duration of the test. Your named nurse will introduce herself and explain what to expect.

An initial blood sample will be taken to check the baseline level of cortisol. We will then give you an injection to stimulate your own body production of cortisol. A blood sample will be taken at 30 minutes and 60 minutes after the stimulation to measure the cortisol level.

The results will reflect how much cortisol you have and how well your body can respond to the stimulation.


On completion your venflon will be removed and you will be offered refreshments prior to going home.

Who will get the results?

Your doctor will be informed of the results.


Please note that Clinical Investigation Unit has no smoking policy.

If you have any queries or worries, please do not hesitate to contact the nursing staff for further information's on 01382 632494.

We hope to make your stay as pleasant as possible.

Link to Addisons


NHS Tayside; 2006; version 1.0

; no liability whatsoever is accepted for information given and all such information, especially with regard to drug usage (UK version provided), must be checked with a person’s health provider.