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RBC cholinesterase, true cholinesterase, red cell cholinesterase, acetylcholinesterase
This test looks for signs of chemical poisoning in your blood.
Cholinesterase is an enzyme that helps your nervous system work the way it should. Certain toxic chemicals in the environment can interfere with this enzyme and affect your nervous system.
These chemicals include organophosphates and carbamates. They are most often found in insecticides used in fields. They have also been used as chemical warfare agents. These chemicals can be found in common household insect sprays, too, such as Raid and Black Flag. They have been used in insecticides for more than 50 years.
If these chemicals get into your body, they can affect how you breathe and can cause general muscle weakness. They are called cholinesterase inhibitors. An overdose of these chemicals can be fatal.
You may need this test if your healthcare provider thinks you have been overexposed to insecticides. Signs and symptoms of overexposure include:
Slow heart rate
Pupils in your eyes get smaller
You make more saliva than normal
You urinate more often than normal
You have trouble breathing
Vomiting and diarrhea
These signs and symptoms vary, based on:
Amount of the overdose
What part of your body was exposed
Type of chemical
You may also have this test if you have symptoms of nervous system problems. These include:
Weakness when you bend your neck
Problems with the nerves in your neck
General muscle weakness
You aren’t able to breathe normally
This test is rarely used in an emergency because the results usually aren't available in time to suggest treatment. Instead, treatment of cholinesterase poisoning is usually based on symptoms.
Your healthcare provider may also order other tests if you need treatment right away. These tests include:
Complete blood count, or CBC
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider.
The range of normal results varies greatly from lab to lab. But signs of poisoning start to appear in ranges that are 40% to 75% of normal.
The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.
Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.
Certain drugs can affect your results. These include birth control pills and medicines used to prevent malaria.
You don't need to prepare for this test. But be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.