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Test ID: A889

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Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is predominantly produced in the adrenal gland. It is widely known as the body’s stress hormone, but also influences various other functions throughout the body. Elevated cortisol can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, mood swings, and skin changes. Low cortisol can cause fatigue, weight loss, low blood pressure, and skin hyperpigmentation.



How to order a test


  • Hydrocortisone

What is Included?

Measurement of cortisol in a blood sample by chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassays.

Turnaround Time

1 – 3 business days
The turnaround time is not guaranteed. The average turnaround time is 1 – 3 business days from the date that the sample arrives at the laboratory. Shipping time for the sample is not included. Additional time is required if the case requires confirmatory or reflex testing, or if the sample is insufficient, or if a recollection is required.

Related Documents

Additional Information and Resources


Preparation Before Specimen Collection

Collect blood sample in the morning before 10am after a period of 24 hours in which you have felt safe and calm with no unusual stress, injuries, or vigorous activity.

Specimen Type



50 μL in a microtainer


Microtainer (regular blood tube)

Collection Method

This test requires a blood sample from a finger prick. All supplies for sample collection are provided in the kit.

  1. First wash and dry hands. Warm hands aid in blood collection.
  2. Clean the finger prick site with the alcohol swab and allow to air dry.
  3. Use the provided lancet to puncture the skin in one quick, continuous and deliberate stroke.
  4. Wipe away the first drop of blood.
  5. Massage hand and finger to increase blood flow to the puncture site. Angle arm and hand downwards to facilitate blood collection on the fingertip.
  6. Drip blood into the microtainer tube.
  7. Dispose of all sharps safely and return sample to the laboratory in the provided prepaid return shipping envelope.

NOTES: Avoid squeezing or ‘milking’ the finger excessively. If more blood is required and blood flow stops, perform a second skin puncture on another finger. Do not touch the fingertip.

Specimen Storage

Maintain specimen at temperatures between 2°C and 30°C during storage and transport.

Specimen Stability

Blood samples can be refrigerated or kept at room temperature for up to 7 days.

Causes for Rejection

  • Incorrect or incomplete patient identification
  • Incorrect specimen collection
  • Inappropriate storage and transport conditions
  • Incorrect specimen volume



To measure cortisol levels in a blood sample to aid in the investigation of andrenal activity.


  • This report is not intended for use in medico-legal applications.
  • These results should be interpreted in conjunction with other laboratory and clinical information.
  • Correct specimen collection and handling is required for optimal assay performance.
  • False results may occur in specimens from individuals that have received preparations of mouse monoclonal antibodies for diagnosis or therapy. Additional clinical or diagnostic information may be required for these specimens.
  • Artificially elevated cortisol values may occur in individuals receiving fludrocortisone, prednisolone or prednisone.
  • Heterophilic antibodies present in the tested blood sample may interfere with this cortisol assay.
  • The concentration of cortisol determined in this assay may vary slightly to concentrations obtained from alternative assays due to differences in assay methods, calibration, and reagent specificity.


Chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (Alinity i Cortisol assay)

Reference Intervals

Before 10 am: 3.7 – 19.4 μg/dL
After 5 pm: 2.9 – 17.3 μg/dL

These reference ranges were obtained from the Alinity i Cortisol package insert.