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A creatine kinase (CK) test checks the level of the enzyme creatine kinase, which is found in heart tissue and skeletal muscles. This enzyme also can be found in smaller amounts in the brain. A blood test to check the level of CK can show if there has been damage to the heart, skeletal muscles, brain, and sometimes other parts of the body. The test is also called creatine phosphokinase (CPK).
CK is made up of three smaller types of enzymes, called isoenzymes: MM, MB, and BB. A doctor looks not only at the total level of CK but also at the level of these smaller parts to find a health problem.
CK might be used to help diagnose a heart attack. This topic focuses on CK tests for other reasons than heart attack. For more information on the CK test for heart attack, see Cardiac Enzyme Studies.
Many things can cause an increase in total creatine kinase (CK) and in the isoenzymes. This test is often used to look for damage to muscles. For example, it might be used to see if someone who has muscle pain has serious muscle damage.
You do not need to do anything special to prepare for this test.
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.
A creatine kinase (CK) test checks the level of the enzyme creatine kinase, which is found in heart tissue and skeletal muscles.
These numbers are just a guide. The range for "normal" varies from lab to lab. Your lab may have a different range. Your lab report should show what range your lab uses for "normal." Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. So a number that is outside the normal range here may still be normal for you.
38–174 units per liter (U/L)
2 to 3 times adult values
You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if:
Different types of health problems can raise creatine kinase (CK) levels. Your doctor will look at your CK test results along with the results of other tests, your symptoms, and your health history.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Current as of: December 8, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: December 8, 2019
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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