A blood test that measures the amount of VIP (vasoactive intestinal polypeptide).
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.
For an infant or young child:
The area is cleansed with antiseptic and punctured with a sharp needle or a lancet. The blood may be collected in a pipette (small glass tube), on a slide, onto a test strip, or into a small container. Cotton or a bandage may be applied to the puncture site if there is any continued bleeding.
How to prepare for the test
Fast for 4 hours before the test.
For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child’s age, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:
- infant test or procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)
- Toddler test or procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)
- Preschooler test or procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)
- School age test or procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)
- Adolescent test or procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)
How the test will feel
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.
Why the test is performed
This test is used to confirm the presence of a VIPoma, a tumor that secretes VIP.
VIP is found throughout the body, but in highest concentration in the nervous system and gut. VIP has many functions:
- it may be a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator
- it increases water and electrolyte secretion from the pancreas and gut
- it stimulates the release of hormones from the pancreas, gut, and hypothalamus
- it stimulates breakdown of fat and glycogen
- it stimulates bile flow
- it inhibits gastrin and gastric acid secretion
Less than 75 pg/ml (picograms per millilter) is normal.
What abnormal results mean
Higher-than-normal VIP may indicate the presence of a VIP-secreting tumor (VIPoma).
What the risks are
The risks associated with having blood drawn are slight:
- excessive bleeding
- fainting or feeling light-headed
- hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
- infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
- multiple punctures to locate veins
Veins 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.
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.