Creatine kinase is a substance that is tested when some form of muscle damage is suspected. The creatine kinase test is a standard test that is conducted using a blood sample. For the patient, there is no difference from a normal blood test that might be conducted in a clinic. Blood is collected from a vein in the upper forearm and this blood is sent for analysis at a laboratory. The blood drawing procedure may cause a small amount of discomfort, but apart from this, the test is pain free. There is the small risk, as there is with every puncture wound, of an infection developing on the wound site. This is why an adhesive tape is used to cover the wound after the blood has been drawn. An improper insertion of the needle may cause bleeding to be more than normal, but this is also controlled by the adhesive tape.
When a muscle gets damaged, it leaks creatine kinase into the blood stream. This causes an elevation in the level of creatine kinase. This elevation is diagnostically relevant as it can be analyzed in order to get to the root cause of the problem. Creatine kinase levels are tested on a patient who is suspected of having had a heart attack. In this situation, the heart muscles are the ones that are damaged and have leaked creatine kinase into the bloodstream. One disadvantage associated with the creatine kinase test is the inability of the test to diagnose the cause of the condition. The test is able to state that a particular injury or damage has happened, but it does not shed any light on the root cause of this damage. This makes the test a confirmation test rather than a diagnosis test. See also creatine kinase elevation
The creatine kinase normal range varies from males to females. For adult males, the normal values are between 38 and 174 units per liter of blood whereas for adult females, the normal level is between 90 and 140 units per liter of blood. An elevation beyond this point is likely to be diagnostically relevant. The creatine kinase levels are usually tested when a person is admitted to the emergency room of a hospital because in most cases of emergency, there is some muscle tissue damage involved. The test is especially useful for patients who have had a "silent" heart attack where the obvious chest pain symptoms of the heart attack have not occurred.More articles from the Blood Tests Category