Introduction: Adrenal insufficiency (AI) is a rare and potentially life-threatening disease. The most common causes are primary adrenal insufficiency (Addisons Disease), due to an adrenocortical disease, and secondary insufficiency, due to disorders of the pituitary gland. Chronic glucocorticoid replacement is vital and patients should be educated about how to act in acute stress situations, in order to avoid adrenal crisis. Taking this into account, we organized education sessions, aimed at patients with AI.
Discussion: We realized group sessions of about 90 minutes duration each, with maximum 8 patients with AI; the presence of a family member or caregiver was strongly advised. A multimedia presentation was performed, focusing on basic knowledge on adrenal insufficiency, management of the disease during stress situations and early recognition of signs and symptoms of an adrenal crisis. At the end of each session, patients were given an emergency hydrocortisone kit and taught how and when to use it. In addition, three brochures with written information with general information about the disease, specials situations and how to prepare and administer emergency medication were available to take home. The identification card of disease carrier (European Society of Endocrinology) was also provided to those who didnt have it. Patient adherence was 100% and a second session will be scheduled in order to access the effectiveness of the first session and to reinforce patient education.
Conclusions: AI is a chronic disease with a significant burden in both patients and its partners. A careful and repeated education is the best strategy to avoid life-threatening emergencies.
20 - 23 May 2017
European Society of Endocrinology