Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has indicated that CK-MB isn’t as reliable an indicator in women as in men, so it should be combined with other tests in women who have symptoms of heart disease.
The blood test for CK-MB measures levels of a form of the enzyme creatine kinase that is released by injured heart cells. It is usually performed to determine whether a patient has had a heart attack.
Understanding the CK-MB Test
All muscles contain several forms of creatine kinase (CK), but heart cells have higher concentrations of CK-MB than do skeletal muscles. When a heart attack is suspected, physicians use a blood test for both CK and CK-MB. A ratio of CK-MB to CK that is unusually high helps to confirm a heart attack.
Learning Your Results
Because CK-MB tests are often done while or just after a patient is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, the results are available in minutes. While a positive CK-MB test usually indicates serious cardiovascular disease or heart attack in women, a negative test isn’t reliable in ruling them out. For that reason, your doctors will want to consider the results along with those of tests for C-reactive protein (CRP) and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP).
Date Last Modified: January 21, 2011
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