Elastase is an enzyme produced by the pancreas, used by the body to break down elastin, and some components of bacteria. When excreted by the body, elastase passes out in the stool, and consequently levels can be monitored by testing the stool. It can therefore be used to aid diagnosis of conditions such as pancreatic insufficiency, when the pancreas will be producing less enzymes such as elastin.
What might a low result mean?
Low levels of elastase in the stool can be found in individuals with pancreatic insufficiency. It is not diagnostic and indicates that further testing may be indicated. There are many causes of pancreatic insufficiency and these include diseases such as cystic fibrosis and chronic pancreatitis.