The growth hormone stimulation test is an important test, which provides information about GH levels in the body. The procedure and precautions to be taken for this test are presented in the following HealthHearty article. Take a look.
The human growth hormone or HGH stimulation test is used for measuring the level of growth hormone in the body. Purpose of conducting this test is to check whether slower growth of the body is the result of the deficiency of this hormone. This measure is taken after production of the hormone is stimulated by the means of triggers such as arginine. Through this test, the pituitary gland’s ability to produce GH is measured. Due to the use of stimulators like arginine, the test is also known as ‘Arginine Test’.
The procedure for conducting normal GH stimulation test is presented below.
- The first step is to clean the area/site from which blood will be drawn out of the veins. Site for placing the IV is generally the vein on the back of the hand or the one which is on the inside of elbow.
- To increase pressure on the vein and to make it swell, an elastic band is wrapped around the upper arm.
- The next step is that of inserting the needle inside the vein. After drawing out the first sample of blood, the IV is kept in the vein and the needle is taken out.
- Five samples of blood are taken from the body. After taking the first sample (at around 6.00-8.00 am), the body is given a dose of arginine. The body is supplied with this chemical continuously for 30 minutes.
- After the 30 minute treatment, the body is provided with GH-releasing hormone. The treatment methods of infusing arginine and GH-releasing hormone are followed by drawing out blood samples. Four blood samples are taken from the body at an interval of 30 minutes each.
- It is not every time that both arginine and GH-releasing hormone are used. Sometimes, only either of the chemicals is used. Such a step is taken, if the problem of kidney stone is present in the patient. Arginine infusion could be harmful for people with liver or kidney diseases.
Preparing for the Test
There are a few precautions to be taken before going for this test.
- One shouldn’t eat anything 10-12 hours before the test. Physical activity should also be minimized. Both the food and physical activity act as deterrents in obtaining correct results.
- In some cases, intake of medications might have to be stopped temporarily with the advice of the doctor.
- It is necessary to relax for about 90 minutes before the test; following this instruction ensures accurate results.
The normal growth hormone level is 7 ng/mL (nanogram per milliliter). However, it could be 10 ng/mL for some labs. The intermediate level ranges between 5-10 ng/mL, while anything below 5 ng/mL is considered as subnormal.
The stimulation test is very simple and doesn’t cause much pain. Few people may experience moderate pain while others just feel the prick of the needle. The site at which blood is drawn out of the body may appear bruised for a few days after the test. A slight throbbing could also be experienced in that area. However, one should keep in mind that these problems stay only for a few days. The risks that are associated with this stimulation test are:
- Some people may feel light-headed after this blood test; few of them might even faint.
- The problem of ‘hematoma’ i.e., accumulation of blood under the skin might occur.
- Excessive bleeding could be the problem in some cases.
- The risk of infection also exists, if proper care is not taken.