Author(s): Jones HG, Jardine N, Williamson J, Puntis MC, MorrisStiff GJ
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: The identification of hyperamylasaemia insufficient to confidently diagnose acute pancreatitis in patients with epigastric pain poses a clinical dilemma. The aim of this study was to identify a cohort of such patients and review their presentation, investigation and outcome. DESIGN: Patients admitted through the emergency surgical intake during a 12-month period with serum amylase levels of 100-400 IU/L were identified and case notes reviewed to confirm those presenting with upper abdominal pain. Subsequent radiological and biochemical investigations were recorded. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 25 patients with non-diagnostic hyperamylasaemia. SETTING: Ward patients in a University Hospital. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Amylase level, eventual diagnosis, drug history. RESULTS: Twenty-five patients were identified with a mean age of 46.7 years. The median serum amylase level was 230 IU/L (range 102-358 IU/L). Twenty-two patients underwent transabdominal ultrasound at presentation, with gallstones identified in nine cases. The remaining three had documented gallstones and were awaiting elective cholecystectomy. Of the 13 patients with no evidence of cholelithiasis, six were taking medications known to cause pancreatitis, seven patients underwent computed tomography (CT) scans that identified chronic pancreatitis in three, and were non-diagnostic in four cases. These four patients underwent endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) evaluation of the biliary tree identifying microlithiasis in one but no pathology in the remaining three cases. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with hyperamylasaemia not diagnostic of pancreatitis should be carefully investigated, as gallstones will be identified in at least 50\%. An accurate drug history is also invaluable.
This article was published in JRSM Short Rep
and referenced in Pancreatic Disorders & Therapy