Pathology Handbook

Faecal elastase

Clinical Indications

Pancreatic elastase 1 (E1), a digestive protease, is synthesised by the acinar cells of the pancreas. Levels of E1 in faeces may be used as a non-invasive method to assess exocrine pancreatic status in patients with Cystic Fibrosis.

Request Form 

Request on ICE or use combined Biochemistry/Haematology form


Analysed by referral laboratory if specific criteria met.

Specific Criteria

Requested by Consultant Paediatrician or if agreed with Consultant Biochemist for patients with Cystic Fibrosis

Patient Preparation

The assay is highly specific for human pancreatic E1 and patients do not need to stop taking pancreatic supplements before assessment of pancreatic exocrine function.

Turnaround Time

One week


Random faecal sample


500 mg


Large white top universal

Lab Handling

Store at 4C. Samples should sent by 1st class post or transport.

Sent to referral laboratory (Southampton General Hospital)

Causes for Rejection

Not meeting specific criteria for analysis. 

Reference Range

Normal levels: 100-200 µg/g faeces

Severe exocrine pancreatic insufficiency: < 100 µg/g faeces