Blood Amylase Test

Blood Amylase Test- Why am I having this test?

Blood amylase test is used to check for inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and to monitor the progression and treatment of this condition.

Your health care provider may perform this test if you have a sudden onset of pain in your abdomen (acute abdominal pain).

What is being tested?

This test measures amylase in your blood. Amylase is an enzyme that helps in the digestion of starch. The levels of this enzyme rise in your blood within the first 12 hours of the onset of acute diseases of the pancreas. Amylase levels are also raised in people who have persistent disorders of the pancreas.

What kind of sample is taken?

A blood sample is required for this test. It is usually collected by inserting a needle into a blood vessel.

How are the results reported?

Your test results will be reported as a value. Your health care provider will compare your results to normal ranges that were established after testing a large group of people (reference ranges). Reference ranges may vary among labs and hospitals. For this test, common reference ranges are:

  • Adult: 60–120 Somogyi units/dL or 30–220 units/L (SI units).
  • Newborn: 6–65 units/L.

Amylase levels remain low for the first 2 months of life. They increase to adult values by 1 year of age. Values may be slightly increased during normal pregnancy and in older adults.

What do the results mean?

Values that are greater than the reference ranges may indicate:

  • Sudden (acute) or long-lasting (chronic) pancreatitis.
  • Other gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, such as a peptic ulcer that involves the pancreas.
  • Kidney failure.
  • A complication of diabetes in which the body breaks down fat instead of glucose (diabetic ketoacidosis).

Talk with your health care provider about what your results mean.

Questions to ask your health care provider

Ask your health care provider, or the department that is doing the test:

  • When will my results be ready?
  • How will I get my results?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What other tests do I need?
  • What are my next steps?

Summary

  • The blood amylase test measures the level of amylase in your blood to check for inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • Your test results will be reported as a value. Values that are greater than the normal reference ranges may indicate the presence of acute or chronic pancreatitis or other gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Talk with your health care provider about what your results mean.
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