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Diagnostic Tests for Cushing's

Many tests are performed to determine if a patient has Cushing's. Here are some of them.

The Biochemical Investigation of Cushing Syndrome

Blood tests: These involve a sterile needle inserted into the vein and blood withdrawn for examination. Click on the links below for more information about each test.

CT, CAT, Computerized Tomography Scan: The focusing of extremely narrow X-rays on a specific level of plane of the body. There may or may not, be an injection of dye to help get a better image. You must lie as absolutely still while you are on the table while the CT scanning unit revolves around you. It is picked up by an electronic instrument called a Scintillator rather than being exposed on X-ray film. The Scintillator reads the density that tissue X-rays pass through. A computer prints out the densities as an illustration of the cross-section. There is no pain involved with this test.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Helps confirm the diagnosis of suspected disease of the soft tissue of the brain and spinal cord. You are placed on a narrow bed and slid into the desired position inside the scanner. This test can be very noisy.

Magnetic Stereotaxis System (MSS) was developed by a team of American neurosurgeons, and is touted as a safer, less invasive and more effective way to biopsy brain tumors. Other applications may include diagnosing and treating cardiovascular conditions, such as coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmia and aneurysms.

Petrosal Sinus Sampling: In this test, catheters are threaded from the groin area up to near the pituitary gland to get a better view where a suspected tumor may be. It is important to lie very still after the test so that the insertion points can heal properly.

Salivary Cortisol: The patient only has to chew a cotton tube for 2-3 minutes and place it in the plastic tube. Late-evening salivary cortisol is not intended to replace the current standard screening test - measurement of a 24 hr urine free cortisol. However, the salivary cortisol test can be extremely useful for patients suspected of having intermittent Cushing's syndrome.

Urine Tests: These involve collecting urine, usually for periods of twenty-four hours at a time. Click on the links below for more information about each test.

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