Novel malabsorption panel speeds diagnosis

Answers from the Lab

Timely diagnosis is key for children with chronic diarrhea or unexplained weight loss. In this test specific episode of the "Answers From the Lab" podcast, Puanani Hopson, D.O., explains how Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ novel malabsorption panel combines four existing tests to yield faster results from a single stool sample.

"Our panel can narrow down the differential diagnosis swiftly and easily," Dr. Hopson says. "Stool testing for children can be quite cumbersome. Performing all four tests in one setting is going to help patients and clinicians."

The panel combines the laboratory's existing pancreatic elastase, calprotectin, reducing substance and alpha-1-antitrypsin tests. It's the only existing panel that allows all four tests to be run at the same time with a single specimen.

Listen to learn more about Mayo Clinic Laboratories' pediatric malabsorption panel.

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Useful information

  • Evaluation of patients with suspected malabsorption, as suggested by chronic diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, or nutritional deficiencies
  • Differentiation between causes of malabsorption, specifically inflammatory conditions, pancreatic insufficiency, and osmotic diarrhea
  • Detection of protein-losing enteropathy that may be associated with an underlying malabsorption

Specimen requirements

Patient Preparation:

  1. No barium enemas may be used for 48 hours prior to collection.
  2. For 72 hours prior to collection:
    • Do not use laxatives, including mineral oil and castor oil
    • Do not eat synthetic fat substitutes such as Olestra.
    • Do not take fat-blocking nutritional supplements


  • Malabsorption Panel Kit (T920)
  • Infectious Container, Wide Mouth (T429)
  • 2 Stool containers, Small (Random), 4 oz (T288)

Container/Tube: Stool container

Specimen Volume: 18 g split between 2 containers, each containing half of the specimen

Collection Instructions:

  1. Collect a fresh, random fecal specimen, no preservative.
  2. Split specimen between 2 small containers, each containing half of the specimen.
  3. Label one small container with the A1AF and UREDF sample collection labels. Label the other small container with the CALPR, ELASF sample collection label.
  4. Freeze immediately

Additional Information:

  1. Specimen must be split prior to transport.
  2. Testing cannot be added to a previously collected specimen.
  3. Specimen cannot be collected from a diaper.

Performance information

Analytic time: 4 to 6 days

Days performed: Monday through Friday

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Barbara J. Toman

Barbara J. Toman is a Senior Communications Specialist at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is also the science writer for Mayo’s Neurosciences Update newsletter, which helps referring physicians to stay informed about Mayo’s treatment and research. Barbara has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2007. She enjoys international travel and cooking.