Zollinger-Ellison (ZE) syndrome is a rare disease of the gastrointestinal tract. It is characterized by severe recurrent peptic ulcers in the stomach, duodenum and/or the upper portion of the small intestine. The ulcers are caused by a greatly increased amount of stomach acid due to high levels of gastrin, the hormone that stimulates stomach acid production. In ZE, high gastrin levels are caused by gastrin-producing tumors called gastrinomas, which usually form in the duodenum but can be found in the pancreas and rarely in other parts of the body. More than half of them are malignant and can metastasize to other parts of the body, such as the liver. The tumors must be removed surgically, and sometimes total removal of the stomach is necessary to control the acid production. For more on this, see the Related Pages tab.
2. How long will it take to get the results of my gastrin test?
Gastrin testing is performed using specialized equipment in a laboratory and not every laboratory will offer gastrin testing. In some cases, your sample may need to be sent to a reference laboratory and results may take a few days.
3. Can’t I just take stomach medicines to address my excess gastrin and stomach acid?
Stomach medications such as proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed as part of your treatment, but it is important to diagnose your underlying condition. Although gastrinomas are rare, more than half of them are cancerous and can spread to other parts of your body.
This article was last reviewed on November 29, 2012. | This article was last modified on August 30, 2013.
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