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
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
Why It Is Done
A test for amylase is done to:
pancreatitis and other pancreatic
- 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
- 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
Many medicines may affect the results of this test. Be sure
to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines
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
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
The health professional drawing your
- 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
- Put the needle in the vein. More than one needle stick may
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- 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
Amylase can be measured in a 24-hour or
2-hour urine sample.
A 24-hour urine
sample is all of the urine you produce over a 24-hour period.
- You start collecting your urine in the
morning. When you first get up, empty your bladder but do not save this urine.
Write down the time that you urinated to mark the beginning of your 24-hour
- For the next 24 hours, collect all your urine.
Your doctor or lab will usually provide you with a large container that holds
about 1 gal (4 L). The container has a small amount of preservative in it.
Urinate into a small, clean container and then pour the urine into the large
container. Do not touch the inside of the container with your
- Keep the large container in the refrigerator for the 24
- Empty your bladder for the final time at or just before the
end of the 24-hour period. Add this urine to the large container and record the
- Do not get toilet paper, pubic hair, stool (feces),
menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the urine sample.
A 2-hour urine sample is all of
the urine you produce over a 2-hour period. Collect it in the same manner as
the 24-hour urine sample, during the 2-hour period your health professional