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Amylase

Category Biochemistry
Test background

Amylase is produced in the pancreas to facilitate the digestion of starch; its (over)accumulation in the blood might reflect an obstruction in the pancreatic duct secondary to a gallstone or tumour, or may be due to the presence of acute/chronic pancreatitis.

Clinicial Indications

Pancreatitis-like presentation: severe abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite or nausea
Suspected malignancy (pancreatic, salivary, prostate, lung and ovarian)
Cholecystitis
Post-operative assessment following intra-abdominal surgery or ERCP
Urinary amylase may be used for monitoring treatment of acute pancreatitis while hyperamylasuria is diagnostic of late-presentation acute pancreatitis (when levels in serum have typically already declined)
Increased blood amylase levels with normal or low urine amylase levels may indicate decreased kidney function or the presence of macroamylasaemia

Reference range

Blood: 0-90 IU/L
Urine: no reference range

Sample & container required SST (gold top) Urine: 24 hour collection
Sample volume Blood: 0.5 mL Urine: 24 hour collection
Turnaround time Blood: 1 day Urine: 2 days