Diagnosing exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

Diagnosing exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

People who have chronic pancreatitis are often tested to see if they have exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI).  

The standard tests take a closer look at stool samples (also called fecal specimens or just plain poop studies). Stools are evaluated for:

  • Fecal fat to check for malabsorption
  • Pancreatic elastase to check for the enzyme that digests protein
  • Stool pH to see if sugars are being broken down properly

If additional tests are needed, the following tests are likely:

  • 3-day fat collection along with a diet diary
  • Pancreatic stimulation test where samples are collected directly from the bile coming from the pancreas