Amylase Serum

  • Amylase is an enzyme found primarily in the pancreas and salivary glands and in minor amounts in the liver and fallopian tubes.
  • Its function is to assist in the digestion of complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. Measurement of serum amylase is often performed to differentiate abdominal pain due to acute pancreatitis from other causes of abdominal pain that may require surgical treatment.
  • The serum amylase begins to rise 3 to 6 hours after the onset of acute pancreatitis and peaks in approximately 24 hours. The values return to normal within 2 to 3 days after onset.
  • Acute pancreatitis is suspected in patients presenting with epigastric upper abdominal pain that is acute in onset, rapidly increasing in severity, and persistent without relief. Serum amylase and/or lipase levels can be considered diagnostic when the reported value(s) is >3 times normal.

Normal Values

  • Adult: 53–123 U/L (0.88–2.05 nkat/L SI units)
  • Elderly: Slightly higher norms


  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Alcoholism
  • Biliary obstruction
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Inflammation of salivary glands
  • Mumps
  • Perforated bowel
  • Perforated peptic ulcer
  • Pregnancy
  • Ruptured tubal pregnancy

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