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Macroamylasemia

Macroamylasemia is the presence of an abnormal substance called macroamylase in the blood.

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Causes

Macroamylase is a substance that consists of an enzyme, called amylase, attached to a protein. Because it is large, macroamylase is filtered very slowly from the blood by the kidneys.

Most people with macroamylasemia do not have a serious disease that is causing it, but the condition has been associated with:

Symptoms

Macroamylasemia does not cause symptoms.

Exams and Tests

A blood test will show high levels of amylase. However, macroamylasemia can look similar to acute pancreatitis, which also causes high levels of amylase in the blood.

Measuring amylase levels in the urine can help tell macroamylasemia apart from acute pancreatitis. Urine levels of amylase are low in people with macroamylasemia, but high in people with acute pancreatitis.

References

Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 144.

Tenner S, Steinberg WM. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 58.

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Review Date: 10/26/2017  

Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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