What is Creatine Kinase Blood Test

December 22, 2010

Creatine kinase also known as CPK or Creatine phosphokinase is an enzyme that is found in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles. This enzyme encourages a particular biochemical reaction to occur. CK normally adds phosphate to creatine present in our body and turns it into molecule phosphocreatine which is high-energy. This is then used by our cells as a quick source of energy.

When there is any muscle damage or degeneration the contents from the muscle cells break open and enter the bloodstream. As most of the CPK is found in the body, any increase found in the blood level during a creatine kinase blood test is indicative of muscle damage.

A creatine kinase blood test is used to help diagnose the following:

  • It helps in the diagnosis of heart attacks.
  • It can be used to appraise the cause of chest pain.
  • It can determine how much muscle damage is there.
  • Early polymysositis and dermatomyositis can be detected.
  • The difference between hyperthermia which is malignant and postoperative infection can be told.
  • It can also help tell what carries Duchenne or muscular dystrophy.

During this test the health care provider draws a sample of blood from your body. He or she then sends it to a laboratory to measure the levels of CPK. High levels following a blood test are found in patients who have had a heart attack, convulsions, brain injury or stroke, delirium tremens, lung tissue death, muscular dystrophies, plymositis, and dermatomyositis. Conditions such as hyperthyroidism, rhabomyolysis and pericarditis following a heart attack may also give positive test results in a creatine kinase blood test. You are generally advised to avoid any strenuous kind of physical activity at least three to four hours prior to the test as it may affect your test results. Other factors that may affect your test results include intramuscular injections and any kind of surgery wherein incisions are made through your muscle.

The advantage of a creatine kinase blood test is that it is noninvasive. Once the blood sample is collected you are expected to follow standard procedures that are involved in venipuncture and can then go back home. The disadvantage of this test is that it can only indicate if there are any abnormalities and not the causes of the abnormalities. If your levels of CK are abnormally high you will not be able to diagnose any muscle disorder. It therefore has to be followed by additional tests depending on the symptoms exhibited by the patient and his or her medical history.

Submitted by N S on December 22, 2010 at 10:00

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