ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 50 P404 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.50.P404

The impact of a profoma introduction on the accuracy and appropriateness of Synacthen testing

Peter Jarvis1, Helen Partridge2, Helen Holt2, Tristan Richardson2 & Georgina Page1


1Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Trust, Bournemouth, UK; 2Royal Bournemouth and Christchaurch NHS Trust, Bournemouth, UK.


Background: We previously reported that a high number of synacthen tests are carried inaccurately within our trust with a significant delay in sample collection after tetracosactide injection. We also reported a high number of patients having Synacthen tests unnecessarily. In light of this we introduced a Synacthen proforma and re-audited our results.

Method: A retrospective study was carried out on 36 patients undergoing Synacthen tests between October 2015 and August 2016. Patient records were reviewed to see if a prior cortisol had been measured and the accuracy of the sample timings within the SST were evaluated. The results were compared to original audit data.

Results: There was a significant reduction in the number of Synacthen tests being performed following policy change (0.80 tests/week vs. 1.29 tests/week; P=<0.01). There was an associated increase in number of patients having cortisol levels measured prior to commencing an SST (27/36, 75% vs. 168/322, 52%; P=<0.01). A reduction in the proportion of tests being undertaken inaccurately was seen following the introduction of the new policy (12/36, 33% vs. 196/336, 58%: P=<0.01). There was a significant improvement in the timing of the samples in those that used the proforma. 30 minute median sample time = 30 minutes (IQR 29/32; range 27-52) vs. 35 minutes (IQR 30–45; range 13–197) P=<0.01. 60 minute median sample time = 63 minutes (IQR 60–65; range 57–81) vs. 65 minutes (IQR 60–75; range 30–198) P=0.05.

Conclusion: The introduction of a synacthen proforma has resulted in a reduction in inappropriate synacthen tests and an improvement in the accuracy of sample collection making result interpretation more reliable.

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