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Growth Hormone Test

What is a Growth Hormone Test (Arginine / Clonidine Stimulation Test)?

A growth hormone test is done to find out why a child is small or growing slowly. The test tells how much growth hormone a person’s body is making.

This test is used to help diagnose growth hormone deficiency. Growth hormone is needed by the body in order to grow.

There are two medicines given during this test, arginine and clonidine. Both of these medicines cause the body to release growth hormone.

During the test, nurses draw blood samples at special times to see how much growth hormone the body is making.

Before the Test

Your child will not be allowed to have anything to eat or drink except water after midnight the night before the test. You will need to reschedule the test of your child ate or drank anything other than water after midnight the night before the test. If you need to reschedule the test, please call 513-636-6907. The test takes about four to six hours so have your child wear comfortable clothing. It would be best if they wear a short-sleeved shirt to the test. If your child is on any medications, please let us know when you schedule this test.

Explain what will happen to your child in simple terms that they can understand.

During the Test

The test is done in the Endocrinology Outpatient Clinic. When you arrive to clinic, we measure your child’s height and weight.

Your child will then go into a patient room where the IV (intravenous) catheter is placed. This is used to give the arginine and to draw the blood samples. Having the IV placed can be a little uncomfortable, but it is done quickly.

The clonidine is given by mouth in pill or liquid form. The clonidine may lower blood pressure and cause your child to become sleepy, so the nurses will measure blood pressure throughout the test. Your child may get fluids to drink during the test.

After the Test

Your child will be given a menu after the test. Patients must be awake, able to eat and walk around before being discharged from the clinic. Your child may feel tired the rest of the evening.

Test results are available two to three weeks after the test is completed. Your provider will notify you of the results.

There are no dietary restrictions following the test.


Your child may feel tired the evening following the test. They may not feel like doing any of their usual activities.

If you have any medical concerns about your child's condition or you have not received the test results within three weeks, call 513-636-4744.

Last Updated 02/2020

Reviewed By Michelle Lawrence, MSN, RN, CPN and Missy May, RNII
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To learn more, schedule an appointment, or refer a patient, contact the Division of Endocrinology. Contact Us