Amylase is an enzyme that helps digest carbohydrates. It is made in the pancreas and the glands that make saliva. When the pancreas is diseased or inflamed, amylase releases into the blood.
A test can be done to measure the level of this enzyme in your blood.
Amylase may also be measured with an amylase urine test.
A blood sample is taken from a vein.
No special preparation is needed. However, you should avoid alcohol before the test. The health care provider may ask you to stop taking drugs that may affect the test. DO NOT stop taking any medicines without first talking to your provider.
Drugs that can increase amylase measurements include:
You may feel slight pain or a sting when the needle is inserted to draw blood. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
This test is most often used to diagnose or monitor acute pancreatitis. It may also detect some digestive tract problems.
The test may also be done for the following conditions:
The normal range is 40 to 140 units per liter (U/L) or 0.38 to 1.42 microkat/L (µkat/L).
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
Increased blood amylase levels may occur due to:
Decreased amylase levels may occur due to:
Slight risks from having blood drawn may include:
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.