Malabsorption Blood Test Extension Beyond Pancreatic Based Diagnosis


Fat Malabsorption Diagnostic Drink and Blood Test

Less than 72 hours, No Stool Sample Required



Fat malabsorption results from various diseases such as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and cystic fibrosis. If left undiagnosed, fat malabsorption leads to severe malnutrition, nutritional deficiencies, unwanted weight loss and chronic diarrhea. But, the current gold standard diagnostic test for fat malabsorption called gravimetric test makes immediate diagnosis challenging. The acid steatocrit test requires stool sample collection over 3 days and to weigh and record food consumption. Further, the stool samples need to be sent to outside labs to analyze. Due to the stool collection requirement and error prone process, many clinicians delay fat malabsorption testing. Alternative tests either require consuming radioactive markers, which is not recommended for pediatric patients, only provides a qualitative diagnosis or is simply inaccurate.

Dr. Virginia Stallings, CHOP clinician, and her team developed a diagnostic test that accurately measures fat malabsorption that only requires two blood draws and no stool samples or radioactive labeled markers. The test called fat malabsorption blood test (MBT) takes advantage of the different rates of absorption between free fatty acids and triglycerides. The test requires two blood draws from the patient taken before and after a specific test meal, which contains a fatty acid called pentadecanoic acid (PA) and triheptadecanoic acid, a triglyceride with three heptadecanoic acids (HA). The HA/PA ratio are measured using standard gas chromatographic methods and compared between the two blood draws.



•       No stool sample or error prone diet collection required

•       Requires a test meal, a consistent consumable and potential additional source of revenue

•       Diagnostic markers naturally found in dairy products; safe to use on the pediatric population


•       Diagnostic test to detect and measure fat malabsorption due pancreatic diseases


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For Information, Contact:
Simone Temporal
Licensing Associate
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Virginia Stallings