The physiologic and psychologic stress of critical illness produces systemic endocrine responses that affect the body’s ability to achieve and maintain homeostasis. Regardless of the nature of the stress or illness, specific hormonal changes occur in thyroid, adrenal, and posterior pituitary activity. This article describes the physiologic and pathophysiologic basis underlying endocrine responses to the stress of critical illness. The critical care nurse is challenged by the complexity of this patient and needs to be familiar with the endocrine responses to critical illness for assessment and clinical interventions to be meaningful

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