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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-24 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

Lipase is an enzyme secreted by the pancreas into the duodenum that breaks down triglycerides into fatty acids. Lipase is excreted through the kidneys. Therefore, elevated levels of lipase can often be seen in patients with renal failure. High levels of lipase are also found in the bloodstream following damage to or disease affecting the pancreatic acinar cells. The most common cause of an elevated serum lipase level is acute pancreatitis.[1], [2]


  • In acute pancreatitis, elevated lipase levels parallel serum amylase levels.
  • lipase levels normally rise a little later than amylase and remain elevated for 5 to 7 days.
  • serum lipase levels are considered to be more useful in the late diagnosis of acute pancreatitis and less useful in chronic pancreatic diseases.

Patient Preparation

  • Fasting for 8 to 12 hours before the test is typically recommended.
  • Water is permitted.
  • Factors which can cause increased levels:
  • Drugs: bethanechol, cholinergic, codeine, indomethacin, meperidine, methacholine, and morphine.
  • Factors which can cause decreased levels:
  • Drugs: calcium ions

Clinical Implications

High levels indicate:

Low levels indicate:

  • None noted

Associated Tests


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (1998) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby, Inc
  2. Weatherby Dicken, Ferguson Scott (2002) Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective, Bear Mountain