Pancreatic Elastase (PE) is a simple, noninvasive fecal marker for assessing exocrine pancreatic function, allowing the clinician to establish a prompt and reliable diagnosis with high degrees of sensitivity (90%-100%) and specificity (93%-98%) in suspected cases of pancreatic insufficiency. Sensitivity is lower in milder cases of pancreatic insufficiency, but is quite high (95%-100%) in moderate to severe cases.
Pancreatic insufficiency may play a role in:
- Post-prandial bloating, pain or nausea
- Loose or watery stools
- Undigested food in the stool
- Food intolerances
- Gastroesophageal reflux symptoms
Clinical Advantages of Pancreatic Elastase:
PE is a digestive enzyme secreted exclusively by the human pancreas. Its unique qualities provide the following clinical advantages:
- PE has a strong correlation with the gold standard test for pancreatic insufficiency.
- PE results are not affected by pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy; therefore patients
are not required to stop supplementation prior to stool collection
- PE is not degraded during intestinal transit, nor is it affected greatly by increases or
decreases in intestinal transit times.
- PE levels are 5-fold to 6-fold higher in feces than in duodenal juice, reflecting the
extraordinary stability of PE in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
- PE is produced exclusively in the pancreas and as such has almost absolute pancreatic
specificity. There is little or no interference by other enzymes in the GI tract.