5-HIAA urine test

5-HIAA Urine Test - Overview

The 5-HIAA urine test, also known as hydroxyindoleacetic acid test, is a urine test that measures the amount of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the urine. 5-HIAA is a byproduct of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter released in the gut and brain.

By measuring how much 5-HIAA is in the urine, healthcare professionals can determine how quickly serotonin is breaking down in the body. This information can assist healthcare professionals in diagnosing and monitoring certain medical conditions related to serotonin levels such as carcinoid tumors and serotonin syndrome.

Preparation for a 5-HIAA Urine Test

Generally, no preparation is required for this test. You may receive specific instructions from your doctor regarding fasting and fluid intake before having this test conducted.

Procedure for a 5-HIAA Urine Test

Collecting the sample to be tested is generally done in a doctor’s office or hospital laboratory. Follow the instructions provided by your doctor or medical staff:

  • Provide a sample of your urine in a clean container.
  • The container will be filled with approximately 1 to 2 ounces of urine.
  • The container may be labeled with your name and other identifying information.
  • Once collected, the sample will be sent to a laboratory for testing.

Types of 5-HIAA Urine Test

The types of 5-HIAA urine test vary depending on the purpose of the test. The two main types are qualitative and quantitative.

  • Qualitative: This is a less accurate test and tests for the presence of 5-HIAA in the urine. This test can determine if abnormally high levels of 5-HIAA are present in the urine, but does not measure the exact amount of 5-HIAA present.
  • Quantitative: This test is more accurate and measures the exact amount of 5-HIAA in the urine. This test is usually requested to confirm the results of a qualitative test.

Why 5-HIAA Urine Test is Performed?

5-HIAA urine tests are usually requested when a healthcare professional suspects a medical condition related to serotonin levels, including:

  • Carcinoid tumors
  • Neuroendocrine cancer
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Toxic effects caused by certain medications

When 5-HIAA Urine Test is Performed?

Your healthcare professional may suggest this test if they suspect you may have one of the medical conditions mentioned. The frequency at which the test should be conducted depends on the individual’s medical history and the results of earlier tests.

Risks of a 5-HIAA Urine Test

There are generally no risks associated with this test. Possible risks may include:

  • Allergic reactions to the materials used during the test. Tell your healthcare professional if you are allergic or sensitive to any materials.
  • Discomfort during the collection of the sample.