Serum cholinesterase is a blood test that looks at levels of two substances that help the nervous system work properly. They are called acetylcholinesterase and pseudocholinesterase. Your nerves need these substances to send signals.
Acetylcholinesterase is found in nerve tissue and red blood cells. Pseudocholinesterase is found primarily in the liver.
Acetylcholinesterase; RBC (or erythrocyte) cholinesterase; Pseudocholinesterase; Plasma cholinesterase; Butyrylcholinesterase; Serum cholinesterase
How the test is performed
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see:
How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is necessary for this test.
How the test will feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performed
Your health care provider may order this test if you may have been exposed to chemicals called organophosphates, which are used in pesticides. This test can help determine your risk of poisoning.
Less often, this test may be done:
- To diagnose
- Before you receive anesthesia with succinylcholine, which may be given before certain procedures or treatments, including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Review Date: 04/30/2011
Reviewed By: Kevin Sheth, MD, Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine;David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.