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Lactoferrin, fecal; quantitative

CPT4 code

Name of the Procedure:

Lactoferrin, fecal; quantitative (Fecal Lactoferrin Test)


The fecal lactoferrin test is a non-invasive lab test that measures the levels of lactoferrin in stool samples. Lactoferrin is a protein present in white blood cells, and its presence in stool can indicate inflammation in the intestines.


This test is used to detect inflammation in the intestines, helping to differentiate between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The goal is to provide a clearer diagnosis to guide appropriate treatment.


  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody stools
  • Suspected inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)


  • No specific dietary restrictions or fasting required.
  • Avoid the use of anti-diarrheal medications, antibiotics, and NSAIDs for several days before the test, as advised by a physician.

Procedure Description

  1. Patients are provided with a sterile container and instructions for collecting a stool sample.
  2. Once collected, the sample is sent to a laboratory.
  3. In the lab, the stool sample is analyzed to measure the concentration of lactoferrin.
  4. Results are typically available within a few days and are interpreted by a healthcare provider.


The sample collection itself takes only a few minutes. Laboratory analysis usually takes a few days.


Sample collection is done at home. The analysis is performed in a specialized laboratory.


  • The patient collects the stool sample, at home.
  • Laboratory technicians analyze the sample.
  • A healthcare provider reviews and interprets the results.

Risks and Complications

  • No significant risks are associated with this test since it is non-invasive.
  • Sample contamination can occur and may require re-collection.


  • Non-invasive and easy to perform.
  • Helps differentiate between IBD and IBS, leading to accurate diagnosis and treatment.
  • Can monitor inflammation levels in known IBD patients.


  • No recovery time needed as the procedure is non-invasive.
  • Normal activities can be resumed immediately after sample collection.


  • Colonoscopy: Invasive and often requires sedation.
  • Blood tests: Can indicate inflammation but are less specific than the fecal lactoferrin test.
  • Stool cultures: Can detect infections but not specific inflammation biomarkers like lactoferrin.

Patient Experience

  • The patient might feel mild discomfort or embarrassment in collecting a stool sample.
  • No pain or discomfort is associated with the test itself.
  • Clear instructions and support can help ease any concerns during the process.

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