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5-HT level; 5-hydroxytryptamine level; Serotonin test
Serotonin is a chemical produced by nerve cells. The serum serotonin level is a blood test to measure the amount of serotonin in your body.
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.
Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.
When 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.
This test may be done to diagnose carcinoid syndrome. Many patients with carcinoid syndrome will have high levels of serotonin in blood and urine.
Bluth MH, Hardin RE, Tenner S, Zenilman ME, Threatte GA. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006:chap 22.
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