|Values are valid only on day of printing.|
Pancreatic amylase will most frequently be ordered as a serum test to detect acute pancreatitis.
If a pleural effusion occurs as a complication of acute pancreatitis, excessive amounts of pancreatic amylase (p-amylase) in the effusion points to pancreatitis as the cause.
Amylases are a group of hydrolases that degrade complex carbohydrates into fragments.
Amylase is produced by the exocrine pancreas and the salivary glands to aid in the digestion of starch. It is also produced by the small intestine mucosa, ovaries, placenta, liver, and fallopian tubes.
Since the clinical use of amylase activity is usually to detect pancreatitis, the p-amylase form provides a useful test in the laboratory diagnosis of acute pancreatitis.
Pleural effusion may occur secondary to inflammatory pancreatic disease. Exocrine products of the pancreas will occur in such body fluids.
Elevated pleural effusion alpha-amylase suggests acute pancreatitis as the cause of the effusion.
Serum reference values are not applicable to body fluid specimens. There are no established reference values for body fluid specimens.
Burtis CA, Ashwood ER: Clinical enzymology. In Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry. Third edition. Philadelphia, WB Saunders, 1999, pp 617-721