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Alternative Names Return to topPancreatic function test
Definition Return to top
The secretin stimulation test measures the ability of the pancreas to respond to a hormone called secretin. Secretin is produced by the small intestine when partially digested food has moved into the area from the stomach.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
A tube is inserted through the nose and into the stomach, then into the the first part of the small intestine ( duodenum). Secretin is given through this tube. Then, over the next 2 hours or so, the contents of the material released from the duodenum are removed through the tube.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
You will be asked to not eat or drink anything, including water, for 12 hours prior to the test.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
You may experience a gagging sensation as the tube is inserted.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
Secretin normally causes the pancreas to release a fluid containing digestive enzymes. These enzymes break down food and help in the absorption of nutrients.
The secretin stimulation test is done to check the function of the pancreas in digestion. People with diseases involving the pancreas may have abnormal pancreatic function. Such diseases include chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and pancreatic cancer.
In people with cystic fibrosis, the pancreas may form mucus plugs. These plugs block the ducts that lead from the pancreas into the small intestine. This prevents the food acidity from being neutralized, and ultimately reduces the ability of the body to digest food and absorb nutrients.
Normal Results Return to topNormal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Abnormal values may indicate cystic fibrosis or chronic pancreatitis.
Risks Return to top
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. The health care provider will be sure the tube is correctly placed before continuing with the test.
References Return to top
Jensen RT. Pancreatic endocrine tumors. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 205.
Semrad CE, Powell DW. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 143.Update Date: 11/2/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.