Blood Tests

The range of blood tests that can be performed are shown in Table 1, below.

Arterial blood gases should be performed if pancreatitis or ischaemic bowel is suspected.

Table 1 The range of blood tests that can be performed
Test Reason
White cell count (WCC)

C-reactive protein (CRP)

Inflammatory markers may be raised in many causes of abdominal pain, including non-surgical causes [6].

Generally helpful but low sensitivity and specificity.

Urea and electrolytes (U&E) Urea raised if dehydrated/GI bleed
Liver function test (LFT) Suspected liver or gallstone pathology
Amylase Elevated in acute pancreatitis (lipase is more specific for this condition but amylase is a more readily available test)
G&S +/- cross match If bleeding suspected or laparotomy possible
Venous or Arterial blood gas (VBG/ABG) Raised lactate can be an important early indicator of serious pathology (eg. ischaemia, necrosis, sepsis, shock)

An arterial PaO2 is required to formulate a Glasgow-Imre Pancreatitis score, but in most cases a VBG is sufficient.