Perioperative stress dose steroid management of children with classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia: Too much or too little?

Mabel Yau, Marianne Jacob, Sarah Orton, Joy D. Howell, Oksana Lekarev, Maria G. Vogiatzi, Dix Poppas, Saroj Nimkarn, Karen Lin-Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) are at risk for adrenal crises in the perioperative period and require higher doses of glucocorticoids. However, there are no specific protocols detailing the appropriate stress dosing required for children with CAH undergoing surgery with anesthesia. Objective: To evaluate CAH patients using our current hydrocortisone stress dose surgical protocol. We hypothesized that current clinical protocols may overestimate the endogenous response to perioperative stress. Study design: 14 children with CAH scheduled to have genital surgery and a control group of 10 unaffected children scheduled to have cardiac or urologic surgery (of a similar duration) were evaluated in a prospective observational study. Urinary free cortisol (UFC) and urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17-OHCS) per body surface area were measured in the postoperative period. Results: UFC levels were significantly higher in CAH patients (115.8 ± 24.6 nmol/m2) than in controls (26.5 ± 12.2 nmol/m2), P < 0.05.17-OHCS levels were also higher in CAH patients than in controls (6.5 ± 0.5 nmol/m2 vs. 3.4 ± 0.5 nmol/m2), P < 0.05). Conclusion: In the immediate postoperative period, urinary cortisol and its metabolites are significantly higher in pediatric CAH patients receiving stress dose corticosteroids compared to controls. Results suggest that the amount of hydrocortisone given during our stress dose protocol may be higher than physiologic needs. Future dynamic studies are needed to determine appropriate perioperative and postoperative cortisol requirements in pediatric CAH patients in order to develop optimal stress dose regimens.[Formula

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654.e1-654.e6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • CAH
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Pediatric
  • Stress dose steroid
  • Surgery
  • Urinary cortisol


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