|See Also||Lab Tests|
The Fecal Fat test is conducted to confirm the diagnosis of steatorrhea. Steatorrhea may be suspected when a patient has large, greasy, and foul-smelling stools. An abnormal high fecal fat content can confirm this diagnosis.
- This test measures the fat content in stool.
- The most reliable measurement can be obtained from a total output of fecal fat per 24 hours in a 3-day stool collection.
- Any condition that may cause malabsorption or maldigestion is associated with fecal fat.
- Patient may be given instructions on an appropriate diet.
- Factors which can cause increased levels
- Drugs: enemas and laxatives, especially mineral oil
- Factors which can cause decreased levels
- Drugs: Metamucil and barium
High levels indicate:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Malabsorption secondary to sprue, celiac disease, Whipple disease, Crohn disease (regional enteritis), or radiation enteritis
- Maldigestion secondary to obstruction of the pancreatobiliary tree (e.g., cancer, stricture, gallstones)
- Short-gut syndrome secondary to surgical resection, surgical bypass, or congenital anomaly
Low levels indicate:
- None noted
- D-Xylose absorption
- Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (2006) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby.