The diagnostic difficulties encountered in disease of the pancreas because of its inaccessibility to physical and roentgenologic examination and lack of simple biochemical tests, such as those used in the detection of diseases of the hepatobiliary tract, are well known. A fairly satisfactory approach to this problem has been the use of tests of pancreatic function.1 In essence, most tests of pancreatic function deal mainly with the detection of disturbances in pancreatic enzyme concentration in the duodenal contents following hormonal (secretin) stimulation. Such studies have proved invaluable in the detection of pancreatic insufficiency in chronic disease of the pancreas but are of extremely limited value in the patient with acute illness.2 In practice, the study of impaired external pancreatic function by analysis of duodenal contents is too time consuming, cumbersome, and, most of all, distasteful to the patient.
A fairly simple and informative test of acute pancreatic disease
Malinowski TS. CLINICAL VALUE OF SERUM AMYLASE DETERMINATION. JAMA. 1952;149(15):1380–1385. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930320020007
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