The growth hormone (GH) stimulation test measures the ability of the body to produce GH.
Blood is drawn several times. Blood samples are taken through an intravenous (IV) line instead of re-inserting the needle each time.The test takes between 2 to 5 hours.
The procedure is done the following way:
Do not eat for 10 to 12 hours before the test. Eating food can change the test results.
Some medicines can affect the test results. Ask your health care provider if you should stop taking any of your medicines before the test.
If your child will have this test, explain how the test will feel. You may want to demonstrate on a doll. The more familiar your child is with what will happen and the purpose of the procedure, the less anxiety he or she will feel.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. These soon go away.
This test is most often done to find out whether GH deficiency is causing slowed growth.
(A normal value rules out hGH deficiency; in some laboratories, the normal level is 7 ng/mL.)
Note: ng/mL = nanogram per milliliter.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
If this test does not raise GH levels, there is a reduced amount of hGH stored in the anterior pituitary.
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:
Medicines that stimulate the pituitary during the test may cause side effects. The doctor can tell you more about this.
Arginine test; Arginine-GHRH test
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Guber HA, Farag AF. Evaluation of endocrine function. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry’' Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 24.
Melmed S, Kleinberg D, Ho K. Pituitary physiology and diagnostic evaluation. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 8.
Cooke DW, Divall SA, Radovick S. Normal and aberrant growth. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 24.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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