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1. Amylase and lipase are generally elevated. The serum amylase level is almost always elevated early on (> 3x N is almost always due to pancreatitis) but decreases within 2-3 days after disease onset.

2. The lipase level increases later and stays elevated longer than the amylase (beyond day 7).

3. Triglyceride levels > 1,000 mg/dL can cause pancreatitis.

4. In working up the cause of acute pancreatitis, the 1 st and often only imaging test is gallbladder ultrasonography to rule out gallstones.

5. The 2012 revision of the Atlanta classification for acute pancreatitis identifies that 2 of the following must be present:
a) Upper abdominal pain radiating through to the back
b) Serum amylase or lipase 3x the upper limit of normal
c) Cross sectional imaging consistent with acute pancreatitis


1. Wilkinson, I. (2017). Oxford handbook of clinical medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2. Hannaman, R. A., Bullock, L., Hatchell, C. A., & Yoffe, M. (2016). Internal medicine review core curriculum, 2017-2018. CO Springs, CO: MedStudy.
3. Image: no reference available.

Ⓒ A. Manickam 2018

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