Relation between pancreatic lipase activity and gastric emptying rate in children with cystic fibrosis

J Pediatr. 2003 Dec;143(6):772-5. doi: 10.1067/S0022-3476(03)00581-X.


Objective: To determine whether abnormal gastric emptying is responsible for the inability of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) to normalize fat digestion in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) who are pancreatic-insufficient. Study design Gastric emptying of a solid meal and pancreatic lipase function were assessed in 10 children with CF and 12 healthy control subjects with noninvasive breath tests using (13)C-octanoic acid and (13)C-mixed triglyceride, respectively. Lipase function was assessed in the subjects with CF with and without PERT.

Results: Without PERT, the lipase activity for the patients was less than that for the control subjects (P<.001); however, with PERT, 40% of the patients had a normalized lipase function. There were no differences between the mean gastric emptying rates of the patients with CF and the control subjects (P>.05), but there was a negative correlation between gastric half emptying time and percentage improvement in (13)C-mixed triglyceride results of the patients with CF with pancreatic enzymes compared with placebo (P<.05), with patients with slow gastric emptying having less improvement with PERT.

Conclusions: The success of PERT in improving pancreatic lipase activity is reduced in patients with slow gastric emptying, which could explain the variations in improvement of fat digestion with enzyme supplementation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Breath Tests
  • Caprylates / metabolism
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / enzymology*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lipase / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Pancreas / enzymology*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Caprylates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Triglycerides
  • Lipase
  • octanoic acid