Lab Test

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone


Test Codes

Antrim #31434, EPIC: LAB5797, SOFT: ACTH


Special Chemistry

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: One Lavender-top EDTA tube (Minimum Whole Blood: 2.0 mL)

Collect specimen on ice and send immediately for processing.

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Centrifuge immediately after collection to separate plasma from cells. Immediately transfer plasma to plastic transport tube and freeze (-20°C/-4°F or below) prior to transport. (Minimum Plasma: 0.5 mL)

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Plasma aliquot in plastic transport tube, frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below). (Minimum Plasma: 0.5 mL)

Rejection Criteria

  • Non-frozen samples from physician offices, off-campus drawsites (i.e., not at Royal Oak), Grosse Pointe and Troy Labs.
  • Samples that are not received on ice from Royal Oak inpatients and on-campus locations.
  • Lipemic, icteric or grossly hemolyzed specimens.

Inpatient Specimen Preparation

Transport specimen to the Laboratory immediately, on ice, for processing. 

In-Lab Processing

Centrifuge immediately after receipt in the Laboratory to separate plasma from cells. Immediately transfer plasma to plastic transport tube and freeze (-20°C/-4°F or below) prior to testing. (Minimum Plasma: 0.5 mL)


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): Unacceptable
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): Unacceptable
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 30 days

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 7 days


Royal Oak Special Testing Laboratory


Monday – Friday.
Results available within 2 business days.

Reference Range

6-46 pg/mL.

Test Methodology

Chemiluminescent Immunoassay.

Clinical Utility

This assay is used to evaluate the etiology of Cushing's syndrome and adrenal insufficiency. An elevated or inappropriately high-normal ACTH is expected in Cushing's disease (pituitary adenoma) or ectopic ACTH production. In Cushing's syndrome of primary adrenal etiology, the ACTH level should be low. In primary adrenal insufficiency the ACTH level is expected to be elevated, whereas with pituitary dysfunction the ACTH level would be low.

CPT Codes

LOINC: 2141-0


Last Updated


Microtainer® and Vacutainer® are registered trademarks of Becton, Dickinson and Company.
UroVysion® is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories. ThinPrep® is a registered trademark of Hologic, Incorporated.