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Definition A test that measures the amount of 17-OHCS in urine.
Alternative Names 17-OHCS
How the test is performed A 24 hour urine sample is needed. The health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to discontinue drugs that may interfere with the test.
  • On day 1, urinate into the toilet upon arising in the morning.
  • Collect all subsequent urine (in a special container) for the next 24 hours.
  • On day 2, urinate into the container in the morning upon arising.
  • Cap the container. Keep it in the refrigerator or a cool place during the collection period. Label the container with your name, the date, the time of completion, and return it as instructed.
  • Infant: Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Open a urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on your infant. For males, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For females, the bag is placed over the labia. Place a diaper over the infant (bag and all). The infant should be checked frequently and the bag changed after the infant has urinated into the bag. For active infants, this procedure may take a couple of attempts -- lively infants can displace the bag, causing an inability to obtain the specimen. The urine is drained into the container for transport to the laboratory. Deliver it to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible upon completion. The lab analyzes the sample for the amount of 17-OHCS.
    How to prepare for the test The health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to discontinue drugs that may interfere with the test. If the collection is being taken from an infant, a couple of extra collection bags may be necessary.
    How the test will feel The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
    Why the test is performed Cortisol is a steroid hormone released from the adrenal cortex in response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone ( ACTH ). Cortisol is then metabolized by the liver and other tissues to inactive products such as 17-OHCS, which are excreted by the body in the urine. Measurements of 17-OHCS in the urine can be helpful in determining if the body is producing too much cortisol.
    Normal Values Normal values are as follows:
  • male: 4 to 14 mg/24 hr
  • female: 2 to 12 mg/24 hr
  • Note: mg/24 hr = milligrams per 24 hours
    What abnormal results mean Elevated levels of 17-OHCS may indicate:
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • caused by
  • adrenal tumor
  • Cushing's syndrome caused by
  • pituitary tumor
  • ectopic ACTH-producing tumor
  • severe physical or emotional
  • stress Elevated levels may also exist with:
  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • severe
  • hypertension
  • hydrocortisone therapy
  • Lower than normal levels of 17-OHCS may indicate:
  • adrenal hemorrhage
  • adrenal insufficiency
  • (suppressed from steroid therapy)
  • Addison's disease
  • adrenal infarction
  • hereditary
  • enzyme deficiency
  • hypopituitarism
  • surgical removal of the adrenal gland
  • What the risks are There are no risks.
    Special considerations Severe emotional or physical stress can affect the result. Drugs that can increase 17-OHCS measurements include ampicillin and glucocorticoids. Drugs that can decrease 17-OHCS measurements include: estrogens, oral contraceptives (birth control pills), and dexamethasone.

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