Amylase is an enzyme, produced by the pancreas and salivary glands, aids in the digestion of complex carbohydrates and is excreted by the kidneys. In acute pancreatitis, the amylase level may exceed five times the normal value; the level starts rising 6 hours after the onset of pain, peaks at about 24 hours, and returns to normal in 2 to 3 days after the onset of pain. In chronic pancreatitis, the rise in serum amylase usually does not normally exceed three times the normal value.

Normal Lab Values for Amylase

  • 25 to 151 units/L

Nursing Considerations

  • On the laboratory form, list the medications that the client has taken during the previous 24 hours before the test.
  • Note that many medications may cause false-positive or false-negative results.
  • Results are invalidated if the specimen was obtained less than 72 hours after cholecystography with radiopaque dyes.