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Test Indications:

  • Suspected health concerns of a digestive secretion issue
  • Patient has a wide variety of symptoms of unknown etiology

Test Summary:

  • Tests for fecal elastase which is a marker for pancreatic secretion function

Among noninvasive markers of pancreatic exocrine secretory function, fecal elastase is considered to be the best. Proper digestion of food begins with adequate secretion of digestive enzymes into the GI tract by the pancreas. Elastase, produced in the pancreas, is a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down dietary protein to absorbable amino acids and peptides. Fecal elastase levels are utilized to diagnose poor digestive capacity due to pancreatic excretion function that may be associated with chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, carcinoma of the pancreas, Diabetes mellitus, and other etiologies of pancreatic enzyme insufficiency such as aging.

Miendje Y, Maisin D, Sipewa M et al.   Polyclonal versus monoclonal ELISA for the determination of fecal elastase 1: diagnostic value in cystic fibrosis and chronic pancreatic insufficiency. Clin. Lab. 2004; 50:419-424

Glassbrenner B, Schon A, Klatt S et al.   Clinical evaluation of the fecal elastase test in the diagnosis and status of chronic pancreatitis. Eur. J. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 1996; 11:1117-11120

Nune A, Pontes J, Rosa A et al. Screening for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency in patients with Diabetes mellitus. Am. J. Gastroenterol. 2003; 98:2672-2675

Deprez P, Del Natele M, Paulwels S et al.   Comparative evaluation of C-mixed triglyceride breath test and faecal elastase l tests in the assessment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. AGA Abstracts, Gastroenterol. 2002; 122:A-51

Carroccio A, Verghi F, Santini Bet al.   Diagnostic accuracy of fecal elastase 1. Assay in patients with pancreatic maldigestion or intestinal malabsorption. Dig. Dis. Sci. 2001;46:1335-1342

Dominguez-Munoz J, Hieronymus C, Sauerbruch T et al. Fecal elastase test: evaluation of a new noninvasive pancreatic function test. Am. J. Gastroenterol. 1995; 90:1834-1837