Serum Amylase and Lipase Elevation Is Associated with Intracranial Events

Liu, Katherine J. M.; Atfen, Mary Jo; Lichtor, Terry; Cho, Moon Ja; Hawkins, Debra; Panizales, Evangeline; Busker, John; Stone, James; Donahue, Philip E.
March 2001
American Surgeon;Mar2001, Vol. 67 Issue 3, p215
Academic Journal
Serum amylase and lipase elevation has been observed in trauma patients and patients with traumatic intracranial bleeding. However, the causes of this elevation have not been dearly elucidated. A further question remains as to whether other intracranial events are associated with such enzyme elevation as well. We retrospectively reviewed 75 patients consecutively admitted to Cook County Hospital Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit over a 3-month period for trauma, infection, tumor, or other space-occupying lesions with an unstable condition or neurological deficit. Eleven patients (15%) had elevated amylase and lipase levels. The patients were divided into two groups: Group I (n = 64) had normal and Group II (n = 11) had raised amylase and lipase levels [amylase 402 ± U/L with normal ≤125 U/L and lipase 474 ± 313 U/L with normal ≤55 U/L]. All Group II patients suffered an intracranial event. Twenty-four Group I (38%) and 10 Group II (91%) patients required craniotomy (P < 0.01). No patients had clinical or radiographic evidence of pancreatitis. In summary, intracranial events are associated with serum amylase and lipase elevation probably through centrally activated pathways. Because of the lack of diagnostic value, routine pancreatic enzyme monitoring should not be performed in this patient population.


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