Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Serum pancreatic enzymes and imaging in paediatric acute pancreatitis: Does lipase diagnostic superiority justify eliminating amylase testing?

1 Specialty Paediatrics Division, Paediatric Gastroenterology, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
2 Specialty Internal Medicine Division, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Mohammed H AlEdreesi,
Specialty Paediatrics Division, Paediatric Gastroenterology, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, PO Box 76, Dhahran 31311
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjg.sjg_204_21

PMID: 34472445

Background: In acute pancreatitis (AP), serum amylase, lipase and imaging help establish a diagnosis with recognised lipase superiority. Recent literature has debated serum amylase testing and proposed its elimination, but little is known about the diagnostic role of simultaneously measured serum amylase levels in patients with non-diagnostic lipase. This study examined the contribution of pancreatic enzymes and imaging and the role of simultaneously measured serum amylase in children with non-diagnostic serum lipase. Methods: Retrospective medical records review of children aged <18 years with a verified discharge diagnosis of first-attack AP between January 01, 1994, and December 31, 2016. Results: First-attack AP was confirmed in 127 children (median age, 12.5 years). The sensitivity was 90.4%, 54.3%, 42.2% and 36.4% for lipase, amylase, contrast-enhanced computed tomography and ultrasonography (US), respectively. Combination US and lipase identified 96.6% of AP cases. Simultaneous amylase and lipase measurements in 125 children showed that either was ≥3× the upper limit of normal (ULN) in 95.2%, while both were <3× the ULN in 4.8% of cases. Nondiagnostic lipase was seen in 12 (9.6%) children, and diagnosis was based on amylase level ≥3× the ULN in six children and imaging in the other six. Conclusions: Serum amylase, serum lipase and imaging should continue for the conclusive diagnosis of AP in children. Simultaneous serum amylase measurement helped diagnose AP with non-diagnostic lipase.

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