Lipase Test

Lipase is an enzyme, which is produced by the pancreas and released into the duodenum to help with the digestion of fatty foods. In healthy individuals, there are only small amounts of lipase present in the bloodstream; if there is an issue affecting the pancreas, levels of lipase in the blood may increase.

When is the test used?

The test is used primarily to diagnose pancreatic conditions, including pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and other conditions such as pancreatic cancer and diabetes. The test may also be used to assist doctors with the diagnosis and follow up treatment of cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease, although this is not always the case.

The test is usually ordered when a patient shows symptoms of a pancreatic condition; these include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • High temperature (fever)

The test may also be used to monitor the efficacy of treatment once a patient has been diagnosed with a pancreatic condition.

How is the test performed?

A sample of blood is required in order for the test to be carried out. This is taken from a vein in the patient’s arm, where the blood is collected into an attached syringe. Once the sample is collected, it will then be bottled and identified as that individual patient’s blood sample, before being sent off for analysis at the laboratory.

What do the test results show?

If levels are very high (usually 2-5 times higher than normal levels), this usually indicates that the patient has got acute pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis usually causes levels of lipase to shoot up rapidly and then fall after around 4 days.

If levels are slightly higher than usual, this may indicate health conditions, including peptic ulcer disease, kidney disease and inflammation of the salivary glands. Occasionally, elevated levels may be associated with pancreatic cancer.

Certain drugs, including morphine and codeine may affect the body’s ability to control lipase levels.

Specific Blood Tests

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved