An amylase test measures the amount of this enzyme in a sample of blood taken from a vein or in a sample of urine.
Normally, only low levels of amylase are found in the blood or urine. But if the pancreas or salivary glands become damaged or blocked, more amylase is usually released into the blood and urine. In the blood, amylase levels rise for only a short time. In the urine, amylase may remain high for several days.
Why It Is Done
A test for amylase is done to:
- Find pancreatitis and other pancreatic diseases.
- See if the treatment for pancreatitis and other pancreatic diseases is working.
- Check swelling and inflammation of the salivary glands.
How To Prepare
To prepare for an amylase test:
- Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours before the test.
- For a blood test for amylase, do not eat or drink anything except water for at least 2 hours before having the test.
- For a 24-hour urine test for amylase, be sure to drink enough fluids during the test to prevent dehydration.
Many medicines may affect the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
The health professional drawing your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put the needle in the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle in the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.