Amylase - urine

Definition
This is a test that measures the amount of amylase in urine.

How the test is performed
A 24-hour urine sample is needed. The health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to discontinue drugs that may interfere with the test.

     
  • On day 1, urinate into the toilet upon arising in the morning.  
  • Collect all subsequent urine (in a special container) for the next 24-hours.  
  • On day 2, urinate into the container in the morning upon arising.  
  • Cap the container. Keep it in the refrigerator or a cool place during the collection period. Label the container with your name, the date, the time of completion, and return it as instructed.

Infant:
Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Open a Urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on your infant. For boys, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For girls, the bag is placed over the labia.

Place a diaper over the infant (bag and all). The infant should be checked frequently and the bag changed after the infant has urinated into the bag. For active infants, this procedure may take a couple of attempts, as lively infants can displace the bag. The urine is drained into the container for transport to the laboratory.

Deliver it to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible upon completion.

The lab analyzes the sample for the amount of amylase excreted by the body.

How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is necessary for this test, but if the collection is being taken from an infant, a couple of extra collection bags may be necessary.

How the test will feel
The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed
Amylase is an enzyme that helps digest glycogen and starch. It is produced mainly in the pancreas and salivary glands. Amylase is normally secreted from the pancreas through the pancreatic duct into the small intestine.

Normal Values

The normal range is 2.6 to 21.2 IU/h (international units per hour)

What abnormal results mean

Increased amylase levels may indicate:

     
  • acute pancreatitis  
  • cancer of the pancreas, ovaries, or lungs  
  • cholecystitis  
  • ectopic or ruptured tubal pregnancy  
  • gall bladder disease  
  • infection of the salivary glands (Mumps or an obstruction)  
  • ingestion of alcohol  
  • intestinal obstruction  
  • pancreatic duct obstruction  
  • perforated ulcer

Decreased amylase levels may indicate:

     
  • damage to the pancreas  
  • kidney disease  
  • pancreatic cancer  
  • toxemia of pregnancy

What the risks are

There are no risks.

Special considerations

Drugs that can increase amylase levels include asparaginase, aspirin, cholinergic agents, corticosteroids, indomethacin, loop and thiazide diuretics, methyldopa, codeine, morphine, oral contraceptives (birth control pills), and pentazocine.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 2, 2012
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.

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