Pancreatic and salivary amylase/creatinine clearance ratios in patients with various degrees of renal impairment were compared with those obtained for control subjects. In chronic renal insufficiency (mean GFR 30 ml/min +/- 15 SD; n = 13) the clearance ratios for pancreatic (mean 3.5 +/- 1.85 SD) and salivary (mean 2.3 +/- 1.3 SD) amylase were significantly higher (P less than 0.05) than those in controls. Corresponding control values (n = 26) were 2.64 +/- 0.86 (pancreatic) and 1.64 +/- 0.95 (salivary). Three patients showed values above the normal limit. In the diabetic group (mean GFR 41 ml/min +/- 22 SD; n = 10) salivary amylase/creatinine clearance ratios (mean 2.36 +/- 1.55 SD) were significantly higher than in controls (P less than 0.05). Three patients showed raised values. Pancreatic amylase clearance was raised in only one of these patients. Three patients with terminal disease (mean GFR 10 ml/min) showed markedly raised (two- to threefold) clearance ratios for both salivary and pancreatic amylase. Of a total of 26 patients, eight had increased total amylase/creatinine clearance ratios. Pancreatic amylase/creatinine clearance was increased in seven patients, while nine patients showed raised salivary amylase/creatinine ratios. Patients with raised clearance ratios did not have clinical evidence of pancreatitis. We suggest that, in the presence of impaired renal function, a high amylase/creatinine clearance ratio need not be indicative of pancreatic disease.
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