Amylase is an enzyme produced by the pancreas, salivary glands and small intestine. It is usually used to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of pancreatitis.
How the Test is Performed
The Amylase test is performed on a few millilitres of blood from a vein.
Medical Conditions and Symptoms
Abdominal pain, particularly in the epigastric region (upper abdomen) and radiating (going through) to the back, may be an indication of pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas. Major risk factors for this disease are gallstones and excessive alcohol intake.
Test Results Explained
An amylase level may be slightly elevated in the presence of small bowel obstruction, but a very high level almost certainly indicates pancreatitis. A less common cause is inflammation of the salivary glands, usually due to the mumps virus.
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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.