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Home :: Lipase Test

Lipase Test

Lipase is produced in the pancreas and secreted into the duodenum, where it converts triglycerides and other fats into fatty acids and glycerol. The destruction of pancreatic cells, which occurs in acute pancreatitis, causes large amounts of lipase to be released into the blood. This test is used to measure serum lipase levels; it's most useful when performed with a serum or urine amylase test.


  • To aid diagnosis of acute pancreatitis.

Patient preparation

  • Explain to the patient that this test is used to evaluate pancreatic function.
  • Instruct him to fast overnight before the test.
  • Tell him that the test requires a blood sample. Explain who will perform the venipuncture and when. Inform him that he may experience transient discomfort but that collecting the sample takes less than 3 minutes.
  • Withhold cholinergics, codeine, meperidine, and morphine. If these drugs must be continued, note this on the laboratory slip.

Procedure and posttest care

  • Perform a venipuncture, and collect the sample in a 7-ml red-top tube.
  • If a hematoma develops at the venipuncture site, apply warm soaks.
  • Resume administration of drugs discontinued before the test
  • Handle the sample gently to prevent hemolysis.

Reference values

Serum levels are method-dependent and range from 56 to 239 U/L

Abnormal findings

High lipase levels suggest acute pancreatitis or pancreatic duct obstruction. After an acute attack, levels remain elevated for up to 14 days. Lipase levels may also increase in other pancreatic injuries, such as perforated peptic ulcer with chemical pancreatitis due to gastric juices, and in patients with high intestinal obstruction, pancreatic cancer, or renal disease with impaired excretion.

Interfering factors

  • Hemolysis due to rough handling of the sample.
  • Cholinergics, codeine, meperidine, and morphine (false-high due to spasm of the sphincter of Oddi)
  • Heparin (possible increase)
  • Protamine and I. V. infusions of saline solutions (possible decrease)

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