Low serum pancreatic amylase and lipase values are simple and useful predictors to diagnose chronic pancreatitis

Hyoung Chul Oh, Chang Il Kwon, Ihab I. El Hajj, Jeffrey J. Easler, James Watkins, Evan L. Fogel, Lee McHenry, Stuart Sherman, Michelle K. Zimmerman, Glen A. Lehman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic role of low serum amylase and lipase values in the detection of chronic pancreatitis. Methods: Patients underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and were diagnosed with non-calcific chronic pancreatitis (NCCP; n=99) and calcific chronic pancreatitis (CCP; n=112). Patient serum amylase and lipase values were compared with those of healthy controls (H; n=170). Results: The median serum amylase (normal range, 19 to 86 U/L) and lipase values (7 to 59 U/L) (P25-P75) were 47.0 (39.8 to 55.3) and 25.0 (18.0 to 35.0) for H, 34.0 (24.5 to 49.0) and 19.0 (9.0 to 30.0) for NCCP, and 30.0 (20.0 to 40.8) and 10.0 (3.0 to 19.0) for CCP, respectively. The cutoff values with the highest diagnostic accuracy for discriminating NCCP from H were 40 U/L for amylase and 20 U/L for lipase, respectively, and for CCP from H were 38 U/L for amylase and 15 U/L for lipase, respectively. For the diagnosis of NCCP with a criterion of serum amylase <40 and lipase <20 U/L, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive values were 37.4%, 88.8%, 66.1%, and 70.9%, respectively. Conclusions: Serum amylase and/or lipase levels below the normal serum range are highly specific for chronic pancreatitis patients. Clinicians should not ignore low serum pancreatic enzyme values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-883
Number of pages6
JournalGut and Liver
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Amylases
  • Chronic
  • Lipase
  • Pancreatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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