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A gastrin test measures the level of the hormone gastrin in the blood. Gastrin is produced by cells, called G cells, in the stomach lining. When food enters the stomach, G cells trigger the release of gastrin in the blood. As blood levels of gastrin rise, the stomach releases acid (gastric acid) that helps break down and digest food. When enough gastric acid has been produced by the stomach, gastrin levels in the blood drop.
Gastrin also has minor effects on the pancreas, liver, and intestines. Gastrin helps the pancreas produce enzymes for digestion and helps the liver produce bile. It also stimulates the intestines to help move food through the digestive tract.
Sometimes a test for gastrin is done after eating a high-protein diet or after receiving an injection of the digestive hormone secretin into a vein. This is called an intravenous secretin test.
A gastrin test may be done to:
Before having the gastrin test:
Many medicines can change the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the non-prescription and prescription medicines you take, especially acid-reducing medicines, such as Losec, Pepcid, Rolaids, Tums, or Zantac. You may need to stop taking some medicines before this test.
Stress can affect gastrin levels, so you may be asked to rest quietly for 30 minutes before the blood sample is drawn.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form( What is a PDF document? ).
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
For a secretin test, a blood sample is drawn and then the digestive hormone secretin is injected into a vein in your arm. Additional blood samples are drawn at the time of the injection, then every 5 minutes until 15 minutes have passed, and then again at 30 minutes after the secretin injection.
The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.
A gastrin test measures the level of the hormone gastrin in the blood. Results are usually available in 1 to 2 days.
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
Normal values may be higher in very young children and older adults.
Less than 100 picograms per millilitre (pg/mL)[less than 48 picomoles per litre (pmol/L)]
10–125 pg/mL (5–60 pmol/L)
Many conditions can change gastrin levels. Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal results that may be related to your symptoms and past health.
High gastrin levels may be caused by:
Low gastrin levels may be caused by hypothyroidism.
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
CitationsFischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Other Works ConsultedChernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Current as ofJune 25, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family MedicineAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineJerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Current as of: June 25, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
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