Faecal Pancreatic Elastase testing

28 January 2022

SA Pathology now performs Faecal Pancreatic Elastase Level testing at the Frome Road Laboratory twice weekly, reducing the expected result turnaround time to under four days. This testing was previously performed by PathWest. 

Please note the following changes in Reference Intervals: 

PathWest

< 200µg/g Faecal Elastase levels less than 200 µg/g is strongly suggestive of pancreatic insufficiency
> 200µg/g Faecal Elastase levels greater than 200 µg/g are consistent with normal pancreatic function

 

SA Pathology

< 100µg/g Faecal Elastase levels less than 100µg/g suggest severe pancreatic enzyme insufficiency
100µg/g – 200µg/g Faecal Elastase levels between 100µg/g and 200µg/g suggest pancreatic enzyme insufficiency
> 200µg/g Faecal Elastase levels greater than 200µg/g suggest sufficient pancreatic enzyme function

 

Faecal Pancreatic Elastase Level testing is not currently listed on the MBS and requires an Agreement to Pay form. Current cost for the test is $80. 

Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI) is a condition resulting in maldigestion, with the potential for malnutrition. Pancreatic Elastase-1 or faecal elastase 1 (FE-1) is an ideal marker for pancreatic exocrine function as it is not degraded during passage through the gastrointestinal tract. FE-1 levels are concentrated 5-6 times higher in faeces than originally found in pancreatic secretions. FE-1 levels decrease in pancreatic insufficiency with concentrations less than 100 µg/g faeces considered severe insufficiency, while values greater than 200 µg/g faeces considered normal level. 

Faecal Pancreatic Elastase Level testing is recommended by the RACGP and the Australasian Pancreatic Club as a non-invasive test used to differentiate malabsorption/maldigestion due to pancreatic causes from other causes, and/or to assess the efficacy of treatment. 

Testing can be performed from a random faecal collection; no special diet or cessation of medication is required.

Regards,

A/Prof Tom Dodd
Clinical Service Director

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