Creatine Kinase CK-MB Test

Other names: CK-MB Test

CK-MB is a form of creatine kinase; it is found mostly in the heart muscle. Levels of CK-MB rise after a patient has sustained damage to the heart muscle.

Why is the test used?

The test is used primarily to check if a patient has had a heart attack; levels of CK-MB increase if the heart muscle cells have been damaged. The CK-MB test may be ordered if a patient has been suffering from chest pain and the doctor suspects that they have had a heart attack; it may be ordered if a CK test has already been done and the results have indicated that levels of CK are high. The CK-MB test is generally considered to be more useful when checking for damage to the heart because CK-MB is mostly found in the heart muscle cells; a high CK test result may indicate damage to the heart, but it could also mean that other muscles in the body are damaged.

How is the test done?

The test is done by collecting and analysing a sample of blood. The sample is collected using a needle, which is inserted into a vein in the arm; the blood is drawn out and collected in a syringe. Once the sample has been taken, the blood will be bottled, labelled with the patient’s name and sent away to the laboratory for analysis.

What do the test results mean?

Elevated levels of CK-MB indicate that the muscles cells in the heart have been damaged. If the total CK level is high but the levels of CK-MB are low, this usually indicates that another muscle has been injured, while a high ratio of CK-MB: total CK indicates that the heart has been damaged. If the doctor suspects that both the heart and other muscle cells have been injured, they may order a troponin test.

Levels of CK-MB may be higher in people who have kidney failure; the levels will be high even if the patient has not had a heart attack. Chronic illnesses, such as muscle disease and low thyroid hormone levels may also cause CK-MB levels to rise and prolonger heavy drinking can also increase CK-MB concentration.

Specific Blood Tests

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