Menu   WellSpan Health

Health Library

Health Library


Does this test have other names?


What is this test?

This test measures the amount of gastrin in your blood. Gastrin is a hormone made by G cells in the lower part of your stomach. It controls the release of gastric acid by other cells in the stomach when you eat. You need gastric acid to break down your food, but too much gastric acid can cause stomach problems. 

Why do I need this test?

If you have recurrent peptic ulcers, you may have this test to determine whether you also have Zollinger-Ellison (ZE) syndrome, G-cell hyperplasia, or another condition. If you have ZE syndrome, you may have tumors called gastrinomas in your pancreas and the first part of your small intestines. These tumors can be cancerous.

In G-cell hyperplasia, the G cells in your stomach lining make too much gastrin.

If you are being treated for peptic ulcer disease, you may have this test to see if your treatment is effective.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

You may also have a gastric acid level, or pH, test to measure the acid in your stomach juices or tests that stimulate gastrin production.

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Some laboratories may have slightly different normal values than the ones below. Even if your test results are different from the normal values, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider.

The results are expressed in picograms per milliliter of blood (pg/mL). The normal range is:

  • 0 to 180 pg/mL for adults

  • 0 to 125 pg/mL for children

Your levels may be higher if you are an older adult.

Patients with ZE syndrome or G-cell hyperplasia usually have levels of gastrin in their blood that are quite high. But you could have ZE syndrome without high levels of blood gastrin. Other conditions and some medicines can also raise gastrin levels.  

How is this test done?

The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.

Does this test pose any risks?

Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore. 

What might affect my test results?

Things that may affect your test results include:

  • Having peptic ulcer surgery

  • Eating a lot of high-protein foods

  • Taking insulin to treat diabetes

  • Taking antacids or other medicines that block gastric acid production

  • Taking calcium supplements

  • Drinking caffeine

  • Taking antidepressants, which can lower your gastrin levels

How do I get ready for this test?

You must fast for 12 hours before the test. You can drink water. Do not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours before having this test. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use. 

Gastrin - WellSpan Health

Author: Orenstein, Beth W
Online Medical Reviewer: Taylor, Wanda, RN, Ph.D.
Online Medical Reviewer: Ziegler, Olivia W., MS, PA
Last Review Date: 2015-07-15T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2015-08-12T00:00:00
Published Date: 2015-08-13T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2012-04-30T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

I would like to:

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.


Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.