Pancreatic function test
The secretin stimulation test measures the ability of the pancreas to respond to a hormone called secretin. The small intestine produces secretin when partially digested food from the stomach moves into the area.
The health care provider inserts a tube through your nose and into your stomach. The tube is then moved into the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). You are given secretin through a vein (intravenously). The fluids released from the pancreas into the duodenum are removed through the tube over the next 1 to 2 hours.
Sometimes, the fluid can be collected during an endoscopy.
You will be asked to not eat or drink anything, including water, for 12 hours before the test.
You may have a gagging feeling as the tube is inserted.
Secretin causes the pancreas to release a fluid that contains digestive enzymes. These enzymes break down food and help the body absorb nutrients.
The secretin stimulation test is done to check the digestive function of the pancreas. The following diseases may prevent the pancreas from working properly:
In these conditions, there may be a lack of digestive enzymes or other chemicals in the fluid that comes from the pancreas. This can reduce the body's ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly depending on the lab doing the test. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
Abnormal values may mean that the pancreas is not working properly.
There is a slight risk of the tube being placed through the windpipe and into the lungs, instead of through the esophagus and into the stomach.
Pandol SJ. Pancreatic secretion. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 56.
Semrad CE. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 131.
Siddiqi HA, Rabinowitz S, Axiotis CA. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 23.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 11/3/2022
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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