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Pancreatic Elastase 1 (Stool)
Pancreatic Elastase 1 (Stool)

What is it?
Pancreatic Elastase (PE) is a simple, noninvasive fecal marker for assessing exocrine pancreatic function, allowing the clinician to establish a prompt and reliable diagnosis with high degrees of sensitivity (90%-100%) and specificity (93%-98%) in suspected cases of pancreatic insufficiency. Sensitivity is lower in milder cases of pancreatic insufficiency, but is quite high (95%-100%) in moderate to severe cases.
The pancreatic elastase test offers a unique insite into the cause of your digestive problems with amazing accuracy.

Pancreatic insufficiency may play a role in:

  • Bloating, pain or nausea
  • Loose or watery stools
  • Undigested food in the stool
  • Hypochlorhydria (low levels of hydrochloric acid – hydrochloric acid is essential for proper digestion)
  • Food intolerances
  • Gastroesophageal reflux symptoms

What are the Advantages of Pancreatic Elastase?

Pancreatic Elastase is a digestive enzyme secreted exclusively by the human pancreas. Its unique qualities provide the following clinical advantages:

  • PE has a strong correlation with the gold standard test for pancreatic insufficiency
  • PE is not degraded during intestinal transit, nor is it affected greatly by increases or decreases in intestinal transit times
  • PE is produced exclusively in the pancreas and as such has almost absolute pancreatic specificity. There is little or no interference by other enzymes in the GI tract.
  • PE results are not affected by pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy; therefore patients are not required to stop supplementation prior to stool collection
  • PE levels are 5-fold to 6-fold higher in feces than in duodenal juice, reflecting the extraordinary stability of PE in the gastrointestinal tract

Why Should I be Tested?:

  • If undiagnosed and untreated for a prolonged time, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency may result in inadequate nutrient metabolism, leading to nutrient deficiency states.
  • Malabsorption of fats and proteins may be accompanied by a deficiency of vitamins, particularly lipid-soluble vitamins. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • Mineral deficiencies, including calcium depletion, may also occur.
  • Diabetics may develop problems with glucose control due to inadequate nutrient metabolism.

Specific Medical Indications:

  • Diabetes – Reduced PE is found in over 50% of type 1 diabetics and 35% of type 2 diabetics.2 Diabetes secondary to exocrine disease could be much more frequent than previously thought; studies have shown that low pancreatic elastase is closely related to glycemic control.
  • Gallstone or post-cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbaldder) – Exocrine pancreatic function is frequently impaired in gallstone sufferers and post-cholecystectomy patients. There is a high prevalence of pathological changes in exocrine pancreatic function in patients with gallstones.
  • Osteoporosis – Nearly one third of patients with osteoporosis have reduced concentrations of PE. Vitamin D levels may also be significantly decreased in these patients
  • Pancreatic function decreases with age – Nutrient deficiency states may develop as a result of inadequate nutrient metabolism, particularly if undiagnosed or untreated for a prolonged time.
  • Cystic fibrosis patients – PE can be used to diagnose enzyme need. PE is also useful in monitoring exocrine pancreatic function caused by chronic pancreatitis, qutoimmunopathies and connective tissue diseases and chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Click here for a sample report.

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