Amylase Test

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Related tests: Lipase

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To diagnose pancreatitis or other pancreatic diseases

When to Get Tested?

If you have symptoms of a pancreatic disorder, such as severe abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite or nausea

Sample Required?

A blood sample taken from a vein in the arm

Test Preparation Needed?

None

The Test Sample

What is being tested?

Amylase is an enzyme made mainly by the pancreas. It is released from the pancreas into the digestive tract to help digest starch in our food. It is usually present in the blood in small quantities. When cells in the pancreas are injured or if the pancreatic duct is blocked (by a gallstone or rarely by a tumour) increased amounts of amylase find their way into the bloodstream.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is taken by needle from a vein in the arm.

NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.

Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.

The Test

Common Questions

Ask a Laboratory Scientist

Article Sources

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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.