Variability of fecal pancreatic elastase measurements in cystic fibrosis patients

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


Background: the fecal pancreatic elastase-1 (EL-1) test is a new non-invasive test for pancreatic function. The aim of the study was to evaluate the intra-patient variability of the fecal EL-1 test in a cystic fibrosis (CF) population. Methods: 26 CF patients were recruited. Mean patient (S.D.) age was 13.7 years (5.39). Nineteen patients had classical pancreatic insufficiency (PI) based on a clinical syndrome of malabsorption plus steatorrhea on a 72 h fecal fat balance. They were all treated with enzyme supplements. Four patients had classical pancreatic sufficiency (PS): no symptoms of malabsorption, no steatorrhea on a 72 h fecal fat balance, no enzyme treatment. Two patients had symptoms suggestive of PI but had a normal 72 h fecal fat balance: (doubtful pancreatic status (PD)). The CF patients were asked to collect stool samples on 7 consecutive days. EL-1 content in the samples was measured in duplicate. A cut-off of 200 μgEL-1/g stool was used for diagnosing PI. Results: mean intra-assay variability was 4.06%. All PI patients had EL-1 levels below detection limit. For the PS group maximal intra-patient variability was 35%, one stool sample EL-1 level was below the 200-μg cut-off. In the PD group the maximal intra-patient variability was 37% and EL-1 levels were inconclusive for the diagnosis of PI in both patients. Conclusions: the EL-1 test can be used for diagnosing severe PI in CF patients with overt clinical symptoms of malabsorption. However, in CF patients where the clinical picture is less clear the EL-1 test may be inconclusive due to significant intra-patient variability. © 2002 European Cystic Fibrosis Society. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.




Meyts, I., Wuyts, W., Proesmans, M., & De Boeck, K. (2002). Variability of fecal pancreatic elastase measurements in cystic fibrosis patients. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, 1(4), 265–268.

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free