Pancreatic insufficiency

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Tests

  • Faecal fat - an increase in fat in the stool is often the first sign of insufficiency
  • Faecal chymotrypsin - (an enzyme that digests protein): stool chymotrypsin is a screening test to determine whether sufficient amounts of this pancreatic enzyme are reaching the intestine
  • Faecal pancreatic elastase - this human protein-splitting enzyme can be measured to assess pancreatic insufficiency in patients receiving oral (animal) pancreatic supplements. This is currently the preferred screening test.
  • Immunoreactive trypsin (IRT) - a serum test that detects obstruction of trypsinogen secretion into the intestine.This is the initial test used as part of a neonatal screen for detecting cystic fibrosis.

Non-laboratory tests

  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography): a flexible scope sometimes used to see and document damage to the pancreas
  • Secretin test (not widely available): a tube is positioned in the duodenum to collect pancreatic secretions stimulated by intravenous (IV) secretin
  • MRI/Ultrasound/CT scanning of the pancreas

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