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    Stomach acid test

    Gastric acid secretion test

    The stomach acid test is used to measure the amount of acid in the stomach. It also measures the level of acidity in stomach contents.

    How the Test is Performed

    The test is done after a period of not eating so that fluid is all that remains in the stomach. Stomach fluidis removedthrough a tube that is inserted into the stomach through the esophagus (food pipe).

    To test the ability of the cells in the stomach to release acid,a hormone called gastrin may be injected into your body.The stomach contents are then removed and analyzed.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    You will be asked not to eat or drink for 4 - 6 hours before the test.

    How the Test Will Feel

    You mayhave some discomfort or a gagging feeling as the tube is passed through your nose or mouth, and down your esophagus.

    Why the Test is Performed

    Your doctor may recommend this test for the following reasons:

    • To check if anti-ulcer medications are working
    • To check if material is coming back up from the small intestine
    • To test for the cause of ulcers

    Normal Results

    Normally the volume of the stomach fluid is 20 to 100 mL and the pH is acidic (1.5 to 3.5). These numbers are converted to actual acid production in units of milliequivalents per hour in some cases.

    Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly depending on the lab doing the test. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    • Increased levels of gastrin can cause increased release of acid and may lead to ulcers (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome).
    • The presence of bile in the stomach indicates material is backing up from the small intestine ( duodenum). This may be normal. It may also happen after part of the stomach is removed with surgery.

    Risks

    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.

    References

    Scubert ML, Kaunitz JD. Gastric secretion. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 49.

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        Review Date: 10/8/2012

        Reviewed By: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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        St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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