Lipase Test: Pancreatitis Blood Test & Results Explained

Last updated: 13 December 2017

What is lipase?

Lipase is an enzyme produced by the pancreas.

What is a lipase test?

A lipase test is usually used to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

Pancreatitis symptoms

Abdominal pain, particularly in the upper abdomen and radiating to the back, may indicate pancreatitis.

Major risk factors for pancreatitis are gallstones and excessive alcohol intake.

How is a lipase test performed?

A lipase test requires a few millilitres of blood from a vein.

Lipase test results explained

A markedly elevated level of lipase in the bloodstream (the enzyme can also be tested for in urine but this is rarely performed) almost certainly indicates a diagnosis of pancreatitis (inflamation of the pancreas).

A normal level may sometimes be seen in a flare-up of chronic pancreatitis, when the pancreas is so severely damaged from previous episodes of inflammation that there is insufficient pancreatic tissue to raise the enzyme level in the blood.

Related specialists

Related procedures

  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Related tests

Links

 

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.