At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
When to Get Tested?
When you have symptoms of a pancreatic disorder, such as severe abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, or nausea
A blood sample drawn from a vein in the arm
Test Preparation Needed?
The Test Sample
What is being tested?
This test measures the amount of lipase in the blood. Lipase is one of several enzymes produced by the pancreas to help digest dietary fats. It is transported through the pancreatic duct and into the duodenum, where it helps break down dietary triglycerides (a form of fat) into fatty acids.
Lipase is usually present in the blood in small quantities. When cells in the pancreas are injured, as in pancreatitis, or the pancreatic duct is blocked by a gallstone or rarely by a pancreatic tumor, increased amounts of lipase enter the bloodstream, increasing blood concentrations.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.
NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.
Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
No test preparation is needed.
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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.
Sources Used in Current Review
Dugdale, III, D. (Updated 2009 January 28). Lipase test. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003465.htm. Accessed May 2010.
(© 1995–2010) Unit Code 8328: Lipase, Serum. Mayo Clinic, Mayo Medical Laboratories [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/8328 through http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com. Accessed May 2010.
Dowshen, S. (Reviewed 2009 January). Blood Test: Lipase. KidsHealth from Nemours [On-line information]. Available online at http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/medical/test_lipase.html through http://kidshealth.org. Accessed May 2010.
Gardner, T. and Berk, B. (Updated 2009 December 29). Pancreatitis, Acute. eMedicine [On-line information]. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/181364-overview through http://emedicine.medscape.com. Accessed May 2010.
Khoury, G. and Deeba, S. (Updated 2009 January 26). Pancreatitis. eMedicine [On-line information]. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/775867-overview through http://emedicine.medscape.com. Accessed May 2010.
Pagana, K. D. & Pagana, T. J. (© 2007). Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 8th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO. Pp 598-599.
Clarke, W. and Dufour, D. R., Editors (© 2006). Contemporary Practice in Clinical Chemistry: AACC Press, Washington, DC. Pp 281-287.
Wu, A. (© 2006). Tietz Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, 4th Edition: Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, MO. Pp 676-677.
Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL eds, (2005). Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 16th Edition, McGraw Hill, Pp 1891-1898.
Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. Burtis CA, Ashwood ER, Bruns DE, eds. St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders; 2006 p619.
Sources Used in Previous Reviews
Pagana, Kathleen D. & Pagana, Timothy J. (© 2007). Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 8th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO. Pp 598-599.
Thomas, Clayton L., Editor (1997). Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA [18th Edition]. Pg 1117.
Stone, C. (2005 February 14). Lipase test. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003465.htm.
(2004 February). Pancreatitis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse [On-line information]. Available online at http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/pancreatitis/ through http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov.