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Serum serotonin level
Alternative names5-HT; 5-hydroxytryptamine
DefinitionThis is a blood test that measures the amount of serotonin.
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to fill with blood.
A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
How to prepare for the testThe health care provider may advise you to stop taking drugs that may affect the test (see "Special Considerations").
For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child's age and previous experiences. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:
How the test will feelWhen the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performedThis test may be performed when a patient has skin flushing, persistent diarrhea, and valvular heart disease, the classic symptoms that may indicate carcinoid syndrome .
Serotonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan by enterochromaffin cells in the stomach and bronchi (lungs). Many patients with carcinoid syndrome will have high levels of serotonin in blood and urine.
Normal ValuesThe normal range is 101-283 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter)
What abnormal results meanHigher-than-normal levels may indicate carcinoid syndrome.
What the risks are
Special considerationsVeins 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.
Update Date: 8/18/2003David Webner, M.D., Sports Medicine Fellow, Crozer-Keystone Family Practice Program, Springfield, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT