LAB ALERT – Lipase Will Replace Amylase

Home / Physicians News / LAB ALERT – Lipase Will Replace Amylase

LAB ALERT – Lipase Will Replace Amylase


Effective December 13, 2016 amylase testing will be discontinued and replaced with lipase.

 Lipase is more sensitive and specific than amylase in the laboratory investigation of acute pancreatitis.  Lipase levels increase in 4 - 6 hours and remain elevated for 10 – 14 days due to its longer half-life. It is considered to be more valuable in patients with delayed presentation and more sensitive in detecting alcohol-induced pancreatitis. Lipase level of at least 3 times above the reference range is generally considered diagnostic of acute pancreatitis. The level of serum lipase does not indicate the severity of the disease and monitoring levels serially during hospitalization is not valuable in assessing the clinical progress of the illness or prognosis. Daily monitoring is therefore discouraged.  Lipase is also more expensive than amylase and the test should be requested appropriately.

Reference: Banks PA, Freeman ML. Practice Guidelines in Acute Pancreatitis. Am J Gastroenterol 2006;101:2379-2400

Bahera Mali, MB, FRCPath, FRCPC
Medical Biochemist & Section Head, Clinical Chemistry