Physiological evaluation of the severity of pancreatic exocrine dysfunction during endoscopy.
OBJECTIVES: Despite the advances in pancreatic imaging, there continues to be a need to measure exocrine function to determine which patient requires enzyme supplementation. To evaluate the potential use of a rapid endoscopic test that can be conducted by nonacademic centers, we investigated whether concentration of trypsin in food-stimulated secretion is related to trypsin synthesis and secretion. METHODS: Subjects include 22 chronic pancreatitis patients (10 mild, 5 moderate, and 7 severe radiological disease) and 11 healthy controls. During upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, pancreatic secretion was stimulated by a single 30-mL duodenal injection of an enteral diet, followed 5 minutes later by periampullary juice aspiration (endoscopic pancreatic function test [ePFT]). This was followed by a conventional 2-hour marker-perfusion diet-stimulated pancreatic trypsin secretion and synthesis study (2-hour PFT [2hPFT]). RESULTS: Severity of radiological disease was associated with a progressive loss of enzyme secretion measured by the 2hPFT. The endoscopic PFT correlated positively with 2hPFT (r2 = 0.48; P < 0.0001) and an activity of less than 5% of the average normal had a 96% specificity and 75% sensitivity for the detection of pancreatic insufficiency as defined by a loss of greater than 90% of pancreatic secretion. CONCLUSIONS: The diagnostic power of endoscopy may be enhanced by the collection of a pancreatic juice sample after enteral feed stimulation because measurement of the trypsin content will identify chronic pancreatitis patients who will be benefited by enzyme supplementation.