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Pituitary function test

What is a pituitary function test?

This is a blood test to see if the pituitary gland, a small gland that releases hormones in the front of your brain, is working properly. We test the pituitary gland to see if your child is growing and developing appropriately.

The test involves giving your child a small tablet or syrup to swallow, and some injections into a vein to make the pituitary gland produce hormones that can then be measured in the blood.

A hollow plastic tube ‘cannula’ is placed into a vein in your child’s hand or arm to allow us to collect blood samples. The cannula acts a bit like a straw so that all the blood samples can be taken from the 1 tube.

We will take blood samples every 10 to 30 minutes for about 3 hours. The test usually starts at 8.30am so please book a morning off for your child to have this test done. Usually your hospital visit is completed by lunchtime.

We will explain the test in more detail at your appointment.

Extra steps for older boys and girls

Some older boys may need a small injection into the muscle in their leg or bottom 3 or 5 days before the test. This can be arranged with your GP.

Some older girls may need the female hormone oestrogen in tablet form for 3 days before the test.

Will it hurt?

A cold spray can be used to numb your child’s skin before we put the cannula in. If your child would prefer we use a local anaesthetic cream, please arrive on Daycare 30 minutes earlier than your appointment time to allow for this cream to work. You will need to ask the staff on Daycare to apply the cream when you arrive on the ward.

What happens after my test?

You will be discharged once you have fully recovered from the test and feeling well. If you are having any problems from this test, please contact the Endocrine nurse on 0114 226 7815.

When will my results come back?

The results take around 1 month to be analysed. Your consultant might write to you with the results or want to talk about them with you at your next appointment.

What happens if I cannot make my appointment?

Please make every effort to attend the appointment. If the date or time you have been given is not convenient or your child is unwell, please contact the Endocrine nurse on 0114 226 7815.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Endocrine clinical nurse specialists on: 0114 226 7815 between 8.30am and 5pm.

Out of these hours please contact the on-call medical team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital on: 0114 271 7000

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: END2

Resource Type: Article

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