Faecal fat

Keywords: Fat faeces


Minimum of 72 h faecal collection (comprising at least 150 g of faeces).

Patient must be on a diet containing 70-100 g of fat per day for at least four days prior to, and during, the test.


Gravimetric or titrimetric.

If the patient is taking medium chain triglycerides this must be stated on the request form, as a special analytical procedure is required.

Faecal fat content can be assessed qualitatively by microscopy.

Reference Interval:

Total lipid <20 mmol/24 h


Investigation of malabsorption syndrome and documentation of steatorrhoea.

Test not routinely performed, recommend faecal Pancreatic elastase to assess pancreatic exocrine function. See Pancreatic elastase faeces


High levels are seen in steatorrhoea caused by pancreatic, biliary or intestinal disorders.

Inadequate specimen collection can result in failure to detect steatorrhoea.


Hill PG. Ann Clin Biochem 2001; 38(3): 164-167.

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