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Trypsinogen test

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 needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture .

The blood is then tested in a laboratory.

How to prepare for the test

There are no special preparations.

How the test will feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the test is performed

This test is done to detect diseases of the pancreas. However, it is no better than other tests, such as blood amylase or lipase for acute pancreatitis .

It is also ordered during routine newborn screening tests to check for cystic fibrosis.

Normal Values

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor 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

Low or normal levels may be seen in chronic pancreatitis .

What the risks are

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

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

Special 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. Sleisinger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 59.

Tenner S, Steinberg WM. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisinger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 58.

Updated: 2/4/2011

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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