Amylase and lipase in the emergency department evaluation of acute pancreatitis

J Emerg Med. 1999 Nov-Dec;17(6):1027-37. doi: 10.1016/s0736-4679(99)00136-5.


Serum amylase and lipase levels are commonly obtained in the emergency department for the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. The role of these enzymes has frequently been the subject of confusion and controversy. This article comprehensively reviews the history, biochemistry, clinical, and laboratory literature on both enzymes as used in the evaluation of pancreatitis. Specific guidelines are presented to assist the Emergency Physician in the appropriate use and interpretation of these clinical laboratory tests.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Amylases / blood*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Lipase / blood*
  • Pancreatitis / blood
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis / enzymology*


  • Lipase
  • Amylases