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Aust Prescr. 2015 Aug;38(4):128-30. Epub 2015 Aug 3.

Blood tests for acute pancreatitis.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Monash Health, Melbourne.


The diagnosis of acute pancreatitis requires the presence of at least two of the three diagnostic criteria - characteristic abdominal pain, elevated serum amylase or lipase, and radiological evidence of pancreatitis. Serum concentrations of amylase and lipase rise within hours of the pancreatic injury. A threshold concentration 2-4 times the upper limit of normal is recommended for diagnosis. Serum lipase is now the preferred test due to its improved sensitivity, particularly in alcohol-induced pancreatitis. Its prolonged elevation creates a wider diagnostic window than amylase. Neither enzyme is useful in monitoring or predicting the severity of an episode of pancreatitis in adults. New biomarkers including trypsinogen and elastase have no significant advantage over amylase or lipase.


amylase test; lipase test; pancreatitis

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