Diagnosing exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

Diagnosing exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

Aminu Mohammed, MD

Aminu Mohammed is a pediatric gastroenterologist at GI Care for Kids, where he leads the efforts on pancreatic disorders.

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 


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