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Lipase Blood Test

Last updated March 24, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The Lipase Blood Test is used to measure the levels of lipase in blood. It is used to diagnose pancreatic disease and pancreatic duct obstruction.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • LPS Blood Test
  • Triacylglycerol Acylhydrolase Blood Test

What is Lipase Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Lipase is a digestive enzyme that breaks down fats. It is made primarily by the pancreas and released into the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine that leads directly from the stomach
  • Lipase travels through the pancreatic duct to enter the duodenum. It is released when foods containing triglycerides, or fats, are ingested
  • Triglycerides are made of a glycerol backbone, to which three fatty acids are attached. Lipases break-off the fatty acids to enable cells to process them for energy. Different lipases may recognize different triglycerides
  • The pancreas produces the vast majority of lipase in the body. Additional minor sources of lipase include the liver, stomach, and tongue
  • Lipase may be present in blood in small amounts. The presence of significant amounts of lipase in blood indicates a possible pancreatic tumor, inflammation, or pancreatic duct obstruction
  • The Lipase Blood Test is used to measure the levels of lipase in blood. It is used to diagnose pancreatic disease and pancreatic duct obstruction

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Lipase Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Lipase Blood Test:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Severe abdominal or back pain

How is the Specimen Collected for Lipase Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Lipase Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected, by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Lipase Blood Test Result?

Increased lipase levels may indicate:

  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Obstruction of the pancreatic duct
  • Pancreatic cyst or pseudocyst
  • Early pancreatic carcinoma
  • Acute or chronic pancreatitis
  • Renal failure

Markedly decreased lipase levels may be seen with severe malnutrition.

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Cystic fibrosis may lead to low levels of lipase in blood
  • Some pathogenic bacteria and fungi produce lipases that may help them infect humans. The lipase degrades tissues and cellular components of the host, creating a food source and easing the entry of the pathogen into the body

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 15, 2015
Last updated: March 24, 2018