What is the role of CK-MB measurement testing in the workup of acute coronary syndrome (ACS)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: David L Coven, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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CK-MB, the isoenzyme specific to the heart muscle, was the principal biomarker of cardiac injury until troponin supplemented it.

In the setting of myocardial infarction, plasma CK-MB concentrations typically rise about 4-6 hours after the onset of chest pain. They peak within 12-24 hours and return to baseline levels within 24-48 hours. Serial measurements obtained every 6-8 hours (at least 3 times) are warranted until peak values are determined.

The area under the concentration-time curve for CK-MB created with serial measurements of blood enzyme levels provides a reliable estimate of the size of the infarct.

Clinical settings other than ACS, such as trauma, heavy exertion, and skeletal muscle disease (eg, rhabdomyolysis), may elevate CK-MB values.

Determination of subforms of CK-MB (CK-MB2 that is more specific to heart muscle) may improve the sensitivity of this test.

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