Sign in →

Test ID: AMBF Amylase, Body Fluid

Reporting Name

Amylase, BF

Useful For

Evaluation of patients with a pathological accumulation of fluid to determine whether pancreatic inflammation, pancreatic fistula, or esophageal rupture may be contributing


Aiding in the diagnosis of pancreatitis

Specimen Type

Body Fluid

Advisory Information

For pancreatic cyst fluid specimens, order AMLPC / Amylase, Pancreatic Cyst Fluid. Testing will be changed to AMLPC if this test is ordered on that specimen type.

Necessary Information

1. Date and time of collection are required.

2. Specimen source is required.

Specimen Required

Specimen Type: Body fluid

Preferred Source:

-Peritoneal fluid (peritoneal, abdominal, ascites, paracentesis)

-Pleural fluid (pleural, chest, thoracentesis)

-Drain fluid (drainage, JP drain)

-Pericardial fluid

Acceptable Source: Write in source name with source location (if appropriate)

Collection Container/Tube: Sterile container

Submission Container/Tube: Plastic vial

Specimen Volume: 1 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. Centrifuge to remove any cellular material and transfer into a plastic vial.

2. Indicate the specimen source and source location on label.

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.5 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Body Fluid Refrigerated (preferred) 7 days
  Frozen  30 days
  Ambient  24 hours

Reference Values

An interpretive report will be provided

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Monday through Sunday; Continuously

Test Classification

This test has been modified from the manufacturer's instructions. Its performance characteristics were determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
AMBF Amylase, BF 1795-4


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
AMBFL Amylase, BF 1795-4
FLD21 Fluid Type, Amylase 14725-6

Clinical Information

Pleural fluid:

Amylase-rich pleural effusions are commonly associated with pancreatitis, esophageal rupture, malignancy, pneumonia, and liver cirrhosis.(1) Pleural fluid amylase measurement is not routinely indicated though may help to narrow the differential due to these causes. Results should be interpreted in conjunction with serum measurement usually as a ratio of pleural fluid to serum amylase. The ratio of pleural fluid to serum amylase in effusions caused by pancreatic disease is much higher (mean + or - SD = 18 + or - 6.3) versus non-pancreatic disease (4.8 + or - 1.3) (P = 0.003).(2) Isoform analysis revealed that pancreatic amylase is diagnostic of pancreatitis-related pleural effusions, whereas salivary amylase isoforms are more often associated with esophageal rupture and malignancy.(3)


Peritoneal fluid:

The digestive enzymes amylase and lipase can be measured in the identification of pancreatic fluid in the peritoneal cavity. Concentrations are expected to be elevated and at least several-fold times higher in fluid of pancreatic origin compared to simultaneous concentrations in serum.(4) In contrast, amylase concentration in ascites of non-pancreatic origin was approximately half the plasma value.(5)


Drain fluid:

Amylase might be measured in a drain fluid to aid in the identification of internal pancreatic fistulas due to chronic pancreatitis or formation of a fistula after surgery.(6,7) Comparison to serum concentrations is recommended with elevations several-fold higher than blood being suggestive of the presence of pancreatic fluid in the drained cavity.


Peritoneal and drain fluid amylase activity in non-pancreatic peritoneal fluid is often less than or equal to the serum amylase activity. Ascites associated with pancreatitis typically has amylase activity at least 5-fold greater than serum.(1)


Normal pleural fluid amylase activity is typically less than the upper limit of normal serum amylase and has a ratio of pleural fluid amylase to serum amylase ratio less than 1.0.(3)


All Other Fluids: Body fluid amylase activity may become elevated due to the presence of pancreatitis, esophageal rupture, or amylase producing neoplasms. Results should be interpreted in conjunction with serum amylase and other clinical findings.

Clinical Reference

1. Burgess LJ: Biochemical analysis of pleural, peritoneal and pericardial effusions. Clin Chim Acta. 2004;343:61-84

2. Joseph J, Viney S, Beck P, et al: A prospective study of amylase-rich pleural effusions with special reference to amylase isoenzyme analysis. Chest. 1992;102:1455-1459

3. Sahn SA: Getting the most from pleural fluid analysis. Respirology. 2012;17:270-277

4. Robert JH, Meyer P, Rohner A: Can serum and peritoneal amylase and lipase determinations help in the early prognosis of acute pancreatitis? Ann Surg. 1986;203:163-168

5. Runyon BA: Amylase levels in ascitic fluid. J Clin Gastroenterol. 1987;9:172-174

6. Lipsett PA, Cameron JL: Internal pancreatic fistula. Am J Surg. 1992;163:216-220

7. Kaman L, Behera A, Singh R, et al: Internal pancreatic fistulas with pancreatic ascites and pancreatic pleural effusions: recognition and management. ANZ J Surg. 2001;71:221-225

8. Nandakumar V, Dolan C, Baumann NA, Block DR: Effect of pH on the quantification of body fluid analytes for clinical diagnostic testing. Am J Clin Path. 2019 Oct;152(S1): S10-S11

Analytic Time

Same day/1 day

Method Name

Enzymatic Colorimetric


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Gastroenterology and Hepatology Client Test Request (T728) with the specimen.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Gastroenterology Catalog Additional Information: