Lipase Test


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 the lipase in the blood.

Alternative Names

Pancreatitis - blood lipase

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:

  • Bethanechol
  • Birth control pills
  • Cholinergic medicines
  • Codeine
  • Indomethacin
  • Meperidine
  • Methacholine
  • 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 the blood when the pancreas is damaged.

Normal Results

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. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your test results.

Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Higher-than-normal levels may be due to:

  • Blockage of the bowel (bowel obstruction)
  • Celiac disease
  • Duodenal ulcer
  • Cancer of the pancreas
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic pseudocyst

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)


Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 144.

Tenner S, Steinberg WM. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 58.

Review Date: 2/13/2017

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