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Trypsinogen test

Definition

Trypsinogen is a substance that is normally produced in the pancreas and released into the small intestine. Trypsinogen is converted to trypsin. Then it starts the process needed to break down proteins into their building blocks (called amino acids).

A test can be done to measure the amount of trypsinogen in your blood.

Alternative Names

Serum trypsin; Trypsin-like immunoreactivity; Serum trypsinogen; Immunoreactive trypsin

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is taken from a vein. The blood sample is sent to a lab for testing.

How to Prepare for the Test

There are no special preparations.

How the Test will Feel

You may feel slight pain or a sting when the needle is inserted to draw blood. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the Test is Performed

This test is done to detect diseases of the pancreas.

The test is also used to screen newborn babies for cystic fibrosis.

Normal Results

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Increased levels of trypsinogen may be due to:

  • Abnormal production of pancreatic enzymes
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pancreatic cancer

Low or normal levels may be seen in chronic pancreatitis.

Risks

Veins and arteries vary in size, so it may be harder to get a blood sample from one person than another. Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Considerations

Other tests used to detect pancreas diseases may include:

  • Serum amylase
  • Serum lipase

References

Forsmark CE. Chronic 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 59.

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

Siddiqi HA, Salwen MJ, Shaikh MF, Bowne WB. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 22.

Whitcomb DC, Lowe ME. Hereditary, familial, and genetic disorders of the pancreas and pancreatic disorders in childhood. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 57.


Review Date: 1/29/2017
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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