Alternate Names : Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, Thyrotropin
A TSH blood test measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH. This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland. It stimulates the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone, or thyroxine. Thyroxine controls the rate of basal metabolism, or the energy needed to keep the body functioning at rest.
Who is a candidate for the test?
A TSH test is ordered to help diagnose disorders of the thyroid gland, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland.
How is the test performed?
A blood sample is taken from a vein on the forearm or hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an
antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube, or tourniquet, is wrapped around the upper arm. This enlarges the veins in the lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A fine needle is gently inserted into a vein, and the tourniquet
is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle and is collected in a syringe or vial for testing in the laboratory. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding.