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Fecal Fat, Quantitative

Test ID: 


CPT code:



Fat, Quantitative

Quantitative Fecal Fat

Stool Fat, Quantitative

Total Fat, Quantitative

Clinical Use:

In malabsorption syndromes, notably pancreatic insufficiency and Whipple disease, steatorrhea is a prominent feature. Fecal fats can be useful in diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, neoplasia, or stone obstruction. Also useful in regional enteritis, celiac disease, sprue, and the atrophy of malnutrition.

Specimen Type:

Stool (72-hour)

Requested Volume: 

Entire collection or 5 to 25 mL of a homogenized aliquot

Container Type: 

One or more clean stool collection kits containing a 1-gallon can, absorbent sheet, Armlock O-ring, and a leakproof plastic bag

Patient Preparation: 

Adult patients should be on a standard diet containing 50 to 150 g of fat per day for at least three days before test is started and during the 72-hour collection. In children, the amount of fat in the diet should be constant for one day before the test and during the test. The patient should not have had mineral oil as a laxative prior to specimen collection.


Collect stool directly into can. Do not fill any can more than 2/3 full. Secure lid with pressure and firmly attach the O-ring. State collection time on the can label. Place the can and the absorbent sheet into the leakproof plastic bag and seal. Send the entire can, or if submitting aliquot, follow this procedure:
1. Weigh specimen and collection container and subtract the weight of an empty container of same type (one-gallon can weight with lid: 360 g metal or 320 g plastic container). This is the “net weight” to be recorded on the test request form.
2. Open the container and observe whether the contents are liquid. If liquid stool, secure the lid, mix, and submit an aliquot of the total collection. If solid stool, add deionized water (approximately 500 mL) to the specimen container and mix thoroughly to create a homogenous specimen. Submit a 5 to 25 mL aliquot of the total collection in an empty stool transport vial or screw-cap urine bottle, sterile no additives.
3. Record on both the container and the test request form the amount of water added to liquefy the stool or if no water was required.

Storage Instructions:

Refrigerate specimen during collection and store at 2°C to 8°C.

Stability Requirements:



Room temperature

5 days


14 days


14 days

Freeze/thaw cycles

Stable x3

Rejection Criteria

Container more than 2/3 full; container leaking; improper container (ie, paint can, paper cartons, coffee cans, plastic bags, etc); foreign matter other than feces inside of container (ie, spoons, tongue depressors, plastic bags, toilet paper, etc); patient not on special diet; improper labeling of container or test request form; specimen on outside of container; specimen contaminated with urine; aliquot without “net weight” and “amount of water added” to homogenize the sample

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