Myoglobin Test

Myoglobin is a form of protein, which is found in the heart and other muscles in the body. Myoglobin prevents oxygen from escaping from the muscles, to allow then to work effectively. Myoglobin is released into the bloodstream when the heart or other muscles have been injured or damaged.

When is the test used?

The myoglobin test is used to measure the levels of myoglobin in the blood; levels start to rise soon after the heart or another muscle in the body has been injured or damaged.

The test is usually ordered when a patient is complaining of chest pain and the doctor suspects that they may have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Levels generally start to increase around 1-3 hours after a heart attack; they usually peak after 10-12 hours and then start to fall.

How is the test carried out?

The test is done by taking a sample of blood from the patient; the sample is usually taken from a vein in the arm, using a needle. The blood is collected in a syringe and then transferred to a sample bottle, which is labelled and sent away to the laboratory for testing.

What do the test results mean?

If the levels of myoglobin in the blood are higher than usual, this may indicate that the patient has suffered a heart attack; however, it may also indicate damage or injury to another muscle. Further tests may be carried out to determine which muscles have been damaged.

If levels of myoglobin are stable and normal, it is unlikely that the patient has had a heart attack.

Levels of myoglobin may rise after an injury or accident or following surgery; muscle disease may also cause levels of myoglobin to increase. Levels may also increase after strenuous physical exercise or following an injection.

Specific Blood Tests

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