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January 1986

Hyperamylasemia Following Methyl Alcohol Intoxication: Source and Significance

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center (Dr Eckfeldt and Ms Kershaw), and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota (Dr Eckfeldt), Minneapolis.

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(1):193-194. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360130235032

Methyl alcohol intoxication has been reported to cause hyperamylasemia and pancreatitis. We describe a patient with severe, nonfatal methyl alcohol intoxication who had a rise in serum amylase activity with the level peaked on the second hospital day at tenfold the upper limit of normal. However, isoamylase analysis showed that this striking hyperamylasemia was due to salivary-type amylase. Furthermore, the serum lipase activity remained entirely normal during the peak amylase elevation. Thus, in cases of methyl alcohol intoxication, as in other clinical situations, hyperamylasemia, even when striking, should not be equated with pancreatitis. More specific laboratory tests for pancreatitis should be used before embarking on extensive investigations of the pancreas.

(Arch Intern Med 1986;146:193-194)

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