Pancreatic lipase in serum and plasma is closely associated with pancreatic diseases. The activity of this enzyme has been measured as an important marker for diagnosing pancreatic diseases and the associated monitoring of therapeutic effects. Pancreatic lipase test kits currently available include a turbidimetric method using triglyceride as substrate and a colorimetric method using synthetic substrates.
These methods, however:
1) lack precision near the normal level;
2) exhibit poor reproducibility;
3) are affected by other enzymes such as esterases.
In pancreatitis, lipase becomes elevated at about the same time as amylase (in 4-8 hours). But lipase may rise to a greater extent and remain elevated much longer (7-10 days) than amylase.
Elevations 2 to 50 times the upper reference have been reported. The increase in serum lipase is not necessarily proportional to the severity of the attack. Normalization is not necessarily a sign of resolution.