The enzyme amylase is present in pancreas and salivary glands
and its measurement is invaluable in management of acute abdomen.
Clearly elevated levels (>900 IU/L) are virtually diagnostic of
Amylase is of no value in diagnosis of either chronic
pancreatitis, insufficiency of the pancreas or pancreatic cancer
since serum levels are usually normal.
Amylase is cleared by renal excretion and persistent elevated
levels may be seen in macroamylasaemia, a rare and benign
condition, due to complexing of amylase with immunoglobulin
Request on ICE
On request. May be requested urgently.
Serum in gold-top vacutainer
Aliquot and store at 4C
Causes for Rejection
Unlabelled or incorrectly labelled sample; not meeting specific
criteria for analysis
Amylase reference range <100 IU/l. Levels up to 180 IU/l may
be seen in Asians, West Indians and Chinese.
A marked rise in serum amylase occurs in 95% of patients with
acute pancreatitis within 2-12 hours of onset. The highest serum
activity is present 12-72 hours after the onset and usually returns
to normal in 4-8 days. Acute non-pancreatic conditions, which may
also elevate amylase levels, include acute parotitis, peritonitis,
small intestine obstruction, perforated peptic ulcer, rupture of a
tubal pregnancy, contraction of the sphincter of Oddi following
morphine administration, and mesenteric thrombosis.