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March 1960

The Evaluation of Serum Amylase Levels in Nonpancreatic Disease

Author Affiliations

Birmingham, England
Surgical Registrar (Dr. Berryman) and Junior Hospital Medical Officer in Pathology (Dr. George), Dudley Road Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1960;80(3):482-485. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1960.01290200126022

Introduction  It is accepted that serum amylase estimation is "one of the pillars upon which rests the modern concrete diagnosis of acute pancreatitis,"1 and the normally accepted value is from 80-150 Somogyi units,1 200 units being considered as pathological and 1,000 units being found in acute pancreatitis, the highest level being attained in less than one hour from the onset of symptoms. Expressed in milligrams of reducing substance per 100 ml. of serum it would appear that the normal level of serum amylase is 30-125 mg.2 or from 50-200 mg.,3 or 40-175 mg.4Serum amylase may be moderately raised in certain conditions in which a normal pancreas is present, but these are exceptional. Hamilton Bailey1 states that there may be an exceptional rise in serum amylase in perforated peptic ulcer, intestinal strangulation, and the administration of opiates. Less frequently a raised serum amylase is