Pancreatitis - blood lipase
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 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:
- Birth control pills
- Cholinergic medicines
- Opiates (codeine, meperidine, and morphine)
- Thiazide diuretics
How the Test will Feel
You may feel slight pain or 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 excessive amounts in the blood when the pancreas is damaged.
In general, normal results are 0 to 160 units per liter (U/L) or 0 to 2.67 microkat/L (µkat/L).
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some laboratories use different measurement methods. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Higher-than-normal levels may be due to:
- Blockage of the bowel (bowel obstruction)
- Celiac disease
- Cancer of the pancreas
- Pancreatic or bile duct blockage
- Pancreatic pseudocyst
- Perforated ulcer
- Renal failure
- Salivary gland inflammation
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 lightheaded
- Blood collecting under the skin
- Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
Crockett SD, Wani S, Gardner TB, Falck-Ytter Y, Barkun AN; American Gastroenterological Association Institute Clinical Guidelines Committee. American Gastroenterological Association Institute guideline on initial management of acute pancreatitis. Gastroenterology. 2018;154(4):1096-1101. PMID: 29409760
Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 135.
Siddiqi HA, Rabinowitz S, Axiotis CA. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 23.
Vege SS. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 58.
Last reviewed on: 1/24/2021
Reviewed by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.