Lipase Lab Values

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Hey everyone, Abby here from This lesson is going to cover lipase. It's a pancreatic enzyme. We'll talk about its normal value and pieces in which it might be increased or decreased. Let's go ahead and get started.


Lipase is a digestive enzyme secreted by the pancreas. The lab is a measurement of the amount of lipase in the blood. It is utilized to diagnose pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. It's produced here in the pancreas. Now, pancreatitis, what do we know about pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, and digestive enzymes? They don't belong in the blood do they? They belong in their little digestive vesicles to be delivered. So, can you think of some clinical indications or some things that we might see from our patients with pancreatitis? If you said severe abdominal pain, you are right. I have had patients with pancreatitis and keeping their pain under control is paramount. Their abdominal pain may even radiate to their back. They'll present with a fever, nausea and vomiting, and even tachycardia. Now, pancreatic cancer patients will present with all those same signs and symptoms as well as discoloration of the urine.


It'll be really dark and light colored stools. They'll have weight loss because remember, digestive enzyme lipase, right? And, in pancreatic cancer, they'll either have newly diagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes. Normal therapeutic values for lipase are between 23 and 300 units per liter. It can be collected in either a plasma separator tube or a serum separator tube. This is the gold top. The serum separator tube. When lab values are increased, it indicates pancreatitis. It could also mean the presence of a pancreatic cyst, or even a pseudocyst, or a false cyst. It can even be an obstruction in the pancreatic duct. Patients with renal failure, cholecystitis and peptic ulcer disease also can have increased levels of lipase.


The linchpin for this lesson is that the pancreatic enzyme lipase measured in the blood is from this lab. Its normal value is between 23 and 300 units per liter and if it's increased, that means we got trouble with the pancreas. The lipase is released out into the blood and that's why it's elevated. Now, you may have noticed I didn't talk about its decrease. It's really rare for it to be decreased. Don't worry about it. 


You all did great on this lesson. Such a great job. Remember, we love you and we know you can do it! Now, go out and be your best self today and as always, happy nursing!



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