Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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What is Amylase?

An amylase blood test measures the level of amylase, a digestive enzyme, in blood. This test may be prescribed if you experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, jaundice, vomiting, and discomfort in and around the abdomen.

An abnormal amount of amylase in your body may be a sign of a pancreatic disorder. The Amylase test is a crucial marker for detecting ectopic pregnancy, inflammation of the pancreas, and acute pancreatitis in pregnant women. The normal range of amylase in the blood is 30 U/L to 110 U/L. The cause of high amylase levels in the blood can be indicative of chronic pancreatitis and ectopic pregnancy. The levels lower than normal are due to liver disorders and cystic fibrosis.

Why is Amylase done?

·         To help in the diagnosis of acute and chronic pancreatitis

·         To help diagnose pancreatic cysts, pancreatic pseudocyst, and pancreatic abscesses

·         To determine the blockage of pancreatic ducts

·      To diagnose certain conditions affecting the digestive system like peptic ulcers, infections, appendicitis, etc.

·         To diagnose some types of tumors like pancreatic cancer

·         To monitor treatment of pancreatic diseases

What does Amylase Measure?

Amylase is an enzyme that helps in the breakdown of complex dietary carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates for absorption. Digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth since amylase is secreted by the salivary glands. However, most of the amylase is produced by the pancreas and secreted into the duodenum of the small intestine. Amylase is also found in small quantities in blood, urine and peritoneal fluid.

The levels of amylase in blood rise either due to its increased secretion into the blood or decreased clearance by the kidneys or due to both these reasons. High levels are commonly seen in acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) where the amylase levels rise rapidly (in 6 to 48 hours). In mild cases of pancreatitis, amylase levels slowly return to normal within a few days. Higher levels for longer periods indicate other complications.

Interpreting Amylase results


Normal Range:

·         Adults up to age 60 yrs: 25-125 units per litre (U/L)

·         Adults older than age 60 yrs: 24-151 U/L

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Amylase

Frequently Asked Questions about Amylase

Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, since this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, in very rare cases, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin), bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
Q. What additional tests can be prescribed by your doctor in case Amylase test result is not normal?
Additional tests that may be prescribed in case of abnormal Amylase test result are: · Urine Amylase Test · Lipase Test · Amylase to Creatinine Clearance Ratio · Liver Function Tests · Kidney Function Tests · Trypsinogen Test · Abdominal CT Scan
Q. What are the causes of decreased blood amylase levels?
Amylase levels in blood may be decreased due to: · Preeclampsia of pregnancy · Kidney diseases · Some cases of acute pancreatitis · Liver failure · Chronic pancreatitis · Congestive heart failure · Second and third trimesters of pregnancy · Fracture of bones · Gastrointestinal cancer
Q. What are the causes of increased blood amylase levels?
Amylase levels in blood may be increased due to: · Acute pancreatitis · Chronic pancreatitis worsening suddenly · Pancreas, colon, ovary, breast, or lung cancers · Pancreatic tissue damage · Pancreatic pseudocysts · Abdominal swelling · Perforated peptic ulcer in the stomach · Intestinal infarction (tissue death) · Intestinal blockage · Appendicitis · Acute cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder) · Ruptured ectopic pregnancy (abnormal pregnancy) · Swelling of salivary gland such as Mumps · Peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum or abdominal lining) · Severe burns · Diabetic ketoacidosis · Kidney diseases · Drugs like morphine · Alcoholism · Prostate tumors · Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia · Inflammatory bowel diseases · Increased triglyceride levels
Q. What is acute pancreatitis?
Acute pancreatitis is a condition where there is sudden and swift inflammation of the pancreas. The condition is usually severe and may even be life threatening. Acute pancreatitis may be commonly caused by: · Autoimmune pancreatitis · Gall bladder stones · Alcohol · Metabolic disorders · Trauma and injury in the abdomen · Ulcers · Cancers · Certain drugs · Infections Symptoms of acute pancreatitis include: · Severe pain in the upper abdomen that may spread to the back · Nausea and vomiting · Recurrent hiccups · Appetite loss · Fever with shivering (chills) · Improper blood flow · Increased heartbeat (tachycardia) · Shortness of breath (dyspnea) · Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal walls)
Q. Is there any preparation required before the Amylase test?
Inform the doctor of any medications you may be taking. Fasting period of two hours is advisable before the test. No other specific preparations are usually required before the Amylase Test.
Q. What factors can affect the Amylase test results?
The Amylase levels in blood can be affected by a number of factors including: · Medications like aspirin, morphine, or estrogen containing drugs · Alcohol · Pregnancy · Recent kidney transplant · Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) Procedure
Q. What is Macroamylasemia?
Macroamylasemia is a condition where an abnormal substance called macroamylase is present in blood. Macroamylase is an abnormal complex of protein and amylase that is not found naturally. Macroamylasemia does not cause specific symptoms, but is found in association with conditions like HIV infection, Celiac disease, Lymphoma, Rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Blood Amylase Test shows similar results of increased amylase levels for both macroamylasemia and acute pancreatitis. These two conditions can be distinguished by urine amylase test. Levels of amylase in urine are high in acute pancreatitis, but normal in classic macroamylasemia. The reason being, the macroamylase particles (protein-amylase complex) are larger in size than amylase and hence, their filtration through kidneys is slower.
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Vivek Shukla
Very nice experience. Highly recommended.
Girish K Kulkarni
Awesome experience. Pathology test was never so easy.

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