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    Lipase test

    Lipase is a protein (enzyme) released by the pancreas into the small intestine. It helps the body absorb fat. This test is used to measure the amount of the lipase in the blood.

    How the Test is Performed

    A sample of blood will be taken from a vein.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    Do not eat for 8 hours before the test.

    Your health care provider may ask you to stop taking medicines that may affect the test, such as:

    • Bethanechol
    • Birth control pills
    • Cholinergic medications
    • Codeine
    • Indomethacin
    • Meperidine
    • Methacholine
    • Morphine
    • Thiazide diuretics

    How the Test Will Feel

    You may feel slight pain on a sting when the needle is inserted to draw blood. There may be some throbbing at the site after the blood is drawn. Veins and arteries vary in size so it may be harder to take a blood sample from one person than another.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This test is done to check for disease of the pancreas, most often acute pancreatitis.

    Lipase appears in the blood when the pancreas is damaged.

    Normal Results

    In general, normal results are 0 to 160 units per liter (U/L).

    Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different labs. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your test results.

    Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Higher-than-normal levels may be due to:

    • Blockage of the bowel (bowel obstruction)
    • Celiac disease
    • Duodenal ulcer
    • Cancer of the pancreas
    • Infection of swelling of the pancreas

    This test may also be done for familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency.


    There is very little risk from your blood taken.

    Other uncommon risks may include:

    • Bleeding from the needle puncture site
    • Fainting or feeling light-headed
    • Blood collecting under the skin
    • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)


    Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 146.

    Tenner S, Steinberg WM. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 58.


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              Tests for Lipase test

              Review Date: 1/21/2013

              Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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