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Trypsinogen test


Trypsinogen is a substance that is normally produced in the pancreas and released into the small intestine. Trypsinogen is converted to trypsin. Then it starts the process needed to break down proteins into their building blocks (called amino acids).

A test can be done to measure the amount of trypsinogen in your blood.

Alternative Names

Serum trypsin; Trypsin-like immunoreactivity; Serum trypsinogen; Immunoreactive trypsin

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is taken from a vein. The blood sample is sent to a lab for testing.

How to Prepare for the Test

There are no special preparations.

How the Test will Feel

You may feel slight pain or a sting when the needle is inserted to draw blood. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the Test is Performed

This test is done to detect diseases of the pancreas.

The test is also used to screen newborn babies for cystic fibrosis.

Normal Results

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Increased levels of trypsinogen may be due to:

  • Abnormal production of pancreatic enzymes
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pancreatic cancer

Low or normal levels may be seen in chronic pancreatitis.


Veins and arteries vary in size so it may be harder to get a blood sample from one person than another. Other slight risks from having blood drawn may include:

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)


Other tests used to detect pancreas diseases may include:

  • Serum amylase
  • Serum lipase


Forsmark C. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 144.

Forsmark CE. Chronic pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisinger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 59.

Pincus MR, Abraham NZ, Carty RP. Clinical enzymology. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 20.

Tenner S, Steinberg WM. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisinger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 58.

Review Date: 2/4/2015
Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist with gastrointestinal specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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