Cardiac Enzyme Studies
Cardiac enzyme studies measure the levels of enzymes and proteins that are linked with injury of the heart muscle. These include the enzymes creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and creatine kinase (CK), and the proteins troponin I (TnI) and troponin T (TnT). Low levels of these enzymes and proteins are normally found in your blood, but if your heart muscle is injured, such as from a heart attack, the enzymes and proteins leak out of damaged heart muscle cells, and their levels in the bloodstream rise.
Because some of these enzymes and proteins are also found in other body tissues, their levels in the blood may rise when those other tissues are damaged. Cardiac enzyme studies must always be compared with your symptoms, your physical examination findings, and electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) results.
Why It Is Done
Cardiac enzyme studies are done to:
How To Prepare
No special preparation is required before having this test.
Many medicines may affect the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
The health professional drawing your blood will:
Cardiac enzyme studies are often repeated over several hours for comparison. Blood samples for these cardiac enzyme tests are usually drawn every 8 to 12 hours for 1 to 2 days after a suspected heart attack, to look for the rise and fall in the enzyme levels.
How It Feels
The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.
Cardiac enzyme studies measure the levels of the enzymes creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and creatine kinase (CK), and the proteins troponin I (TnI) and troponin T (TnT) in the blood.
Values and units for reporting the results of cardiac enzyme tests vary considerably. The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
Troponin normal values:1
Total CPK (creatine phosphokinase) normal values:1
CK-MB (creatine kinase) normal values:1
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
What To Think About
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
- Early Care for Your Premature Baby
- What to Eat When You Have Cancer
- When to Take More Pain Medication