A comparison between amylase levels from peritonsillar, dental and neck abscesses Academic Article uri icon


  • Objectives Pus of peritonsillar abscess (PTA) contains very high amylase levels in some patients. The objective of this study is to further test this finding and to check whether high amylase levels in peritonsillar abscess originate from contamination by saliva during aspiration.Study designProspective study.SettingTertiary care university hospital.ParticipantsThe study includes 64 patients with PTA, 8 patients with a neck abscess and 12 patients with a dental abscess.Main outcome measureAmylase levels of pus and serum were compared between the groups. Clinical data regarding hospitalization length, recurrence rate, and previous antibiotic treatment were also collected.ResultsMean amylase levels in the pus of the PTA group was 3045 U/L (median 59 U/L),13 U/L in the neck abscess group (p=0.001) and 22 U/L in the dental abscess group (p=0.001). Mean serum amylase was higher in the PTA group; PTA - 50 U/L, neck abscess - 37 U/L (p=0.002) and dental abscess 26 U/L (p<0.002). All of the patients with amylase levels above 65 U/L had a first episode of PTA. In contrast 40% of patients with amylase lower than 65 U/L had recurrent PTA (p=0.003).ConclusionA clear association is seen between minor salivary glands and peritonsillar abscess. The high amylase level in peritonsillar pus is not from contamination with saliva.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014