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Stool fat, fecal fat stain.

Common Use:
To assess for the presence of fat in the stool toward diagnosing malabsorption disorders such as Crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis.

Stool aliquot from an unpreserved and homogenized 24- to 72-hr timed collection. Random specimens may also be submitted.

Normal Findings:
(Method: Stain with Sudan black or oil red O. Treatment with ethanol identifies neutral fats; treatment with acetic acid identifies fatty acids.)

Random, Semiquantitative
Neutral fatLess than 60 fat globules/hpf*
Fatty acidsLess than 100 fat globules/hpf
72-hr, Quantitative
Age (normal diet)
 Infant (breast milk)Less than 1 g/24 hr
 0–6 yrLess than 2 g/24 hr
 Adult2–7 g/24 hr; less than 20% of total solids
Adult (fat-free diet)Less than 4 g/24 hr
*hpf = high-power field.

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