Amylase is an enzyme that helps digest carbohydrates. It is produced 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 a urine test. See amylase - urine.
How the Test is Performed
a blood sample is taken from a vein [01-003423]
How to Prepare for the Test
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. NEVER stop taking any medicines without first talking to your doctor.
Drugs that can increase amylase measurements include:
Birth control pills
Opiates (codeine, meperidine, morphine)
How the Test will Feel
Why the Test is Performed
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:
Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.