The Tryptase test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The tryptase test is a blood test that measures serum levels of tryptase, an enzyme that is released from mast cells along with histamine as part the body’s immune response.

Also Known As: Tryptase Serum Test, Mast Cell Tryptase Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

Average Processing Time: 5 to 6 days

When is a Tryptase test ordered?

Tryptase testing is not usually requested. Tryptase tests are typically not used to identify anaphylaxis, and mastocytosis is uncommon. When a person exhibits symptoms that could indicate anaphylaxis, a tryptase test may be requested, particularly if the diagnosis is hazy and/or the symptoms are recurrent. Anaphylaxis symptoms can include:

  • Flushing
  • throat, face, tongue, and/or eye swelling
  • reduced blood pressure
  • abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea
  • cardiac irregularities
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • breathing issues and wheeze
  • Itching, frequently accompanied with hives,
  • Loss of consciousness or confusion
  • Several of these symptoms are also present in other diseases.

A doctor may also recommend this test if they believe a patient has a mast cell activation problem, cutaneous or systemic mastocytosis, or both. Individuals who have these illnesses may experience many of the same symptoms and signs as those who have severe allergies, but frequently without any obvious triggers, such as exposure to a particular food (like peanuts) or a bee sting. Peptic ulcers, persistent diarrhea, and joint discomfort are just a few of the signs of organ involvement that people with systemic mastocytosis may experience. It's possible for organs like the liver, spleen, or lymph nodes to grow. Skin involvement with rashes or recognizable red, blistering sores is possible.

Once someone passes away, a tryptase test may be requested to assist determine whether anaphylaxis was the cause of death.

What does a Tryptase blood test check for?

Tryptase is an enzyme that is secreted by mast cells when they are triggered as part of a regular immune response as well as in allergic reactions, along with histamine and other substances. The tryptase level in the blood is determined by this test.

Large tissue cells called mast cells can be found all over the body. The epidermis, lining of the intestine and air passages, and bone marrow contain the largest concentrations of them. They have granules in them that store tryptase and histamine among other substances. Mast cells release their contents when they are triggered. The chemicals emitted may result in symptoms ranging from mild to potentially fatal if a person has an excessive number of mast cells or if the cells are improperly triggered.

Tryptase levels in the blood are typically relatively low. The level rises quickly when mast cells are triggered, rising within 15 to 30 minutes, peaking at 1 to 2 hours, and then quickly returning to normal after several hours to a few days. Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can result in low blood pressure, hives, severely narrowed airways, and even death, can occur in patients with severe allergies when many mast cells become activated. Those who have anaphylaxis will have very high tryptase levels.

In some situations, people with mast cell activation disorders, in which mast cells become activated without evident allergies or other reasons, will have elevated tryptase levels.

The rare group of diseases known as mastocytosis, which is characterized by an abnormal rise in the number of mast cells, can also cause tryptase levels to rise dramatically and consistently. The skin or various organs in the body may develop an accumulation of these cells.

Those with systemic mastocytosis or a mast cell activation condition may have anaphylaxis and its accompanying symptoms, although cutaneous mastocytosis often only results in skin issues. These symptoms, which are connected to the organs impacted by mast cell buildup, may last for a long time. Systemic mastocytosis can advance slowly or quickly, resulting in organ failure and, in a small percentage of cases, a form of leukemia.

Lab tests often ordered with a Tryptase test:

  • Histamine
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy
  • Allergy Blood Testing

Conditions where a Tryptase test is recommended:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Leukemia
  • Bone Marrow Disorders

How does my health care provider use a Tryptase test?

Tryptase testing is an effective way to detect mast cell activation. Mast cells are big tissue cells that are most prevalent in the skin, bone marrow, and the walls of the intestine and air passages. Tryptase and other chemicals are released as a normal bodily reaction to injury, but they can also be released in an allergic reaction. Tryptase testing could be applied:

to support an anaphylactic diagnosis. Although a total tryptase test and a histamine test may be requested to assist identify anaphylaxis as the cause of someone's severe symptoms, anaphylaxis is often diagnosed clinically. This is particularly valid if the patient experiences recurrent episodes or if the diagnosis is unclear.

to aid in the identification of a mast cell activation disease or mastocytosis. Mast cells can build up in the skin or in various organs throughout the body in a condition known as mastocytosis, which is a rare group of illnesses.

To assess a person's health and help rule out other disorders that could be the source of comparable symptoms, additional tests might be performed. They may consist of:

  • Blood tests using allergen-specific IgE can assist identify the source of an allergic response
  • To assess red and white blood cells, perform a complete blood count.
  • Detailed Metabolic Panel to assess organ performance
  • To rule out a carcinoid tumor that could cause comparable symptoms, such as flushing, diarrhea, and/or wheezing, a 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid urine test is performed.
  • Gastrin test to check for elevated hormone release that could lead to stomach or intestinal ulcers

It is occasionally possible to conduct a tryptase test after a death to assist identify whether anaphylaxis was the cause.

What do my Tryptase test results mean?

The absence of mast cell activation may be the cause of a person's symptoms, as shown by normal tryptase results, or there may be a timing issue with the sample. Tryptase levels often peak in anaphylaxis 1 to 2 hours after symptoms appear. Results may be normal if a sample is taken too early or too late. It can be compared to the tryptase levels if a histamine test is also run. Within a few minutes of anaphylaxis beginning, histamine levels reach their peak and then begin to decline after approximately an hour. It is improbable that a person had anaphylaxis, though it can't be ruled out, if the timing of sample collection was adequate and neither the histamine nor tryptase amounts are excessive.

Anaphylaxis is the most likely diagnosis when a person exhibits acutely high tryptase levels.

Tryptase levels that are consistently high in someone who has mast cell activation symptoms may indicate mastocytosis. This diagnosis needs to be confirmed by additional tests. In people with systemic mastocytosis, tryptase levels are hypothesized to be correlated with the "load" of mast cells.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.


*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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