When the heart suffers an injury, such as a heart attack, it releases certain enzymes. These enzymes are biomarkers that tell doctors when someone’s heart is damaged.
Enzymes are proteins produced by the body to speed up specific chemical reactions in the body. The cardiac enzymes that doctors measure to see if a person is having a heart attack include troponin T (TnT) and troponin I (TnI).
Both troponin types are commonly checked because they are the most specific enzymes to a heart attack. Doctors may also check the levels of creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and myoglobin in some situations.
These enzymes are normally present in low quantities in the bloodstream. When these levels are elevated, it indicates that the heart muscle may be injured or may not be getting enough oxygen.
In this article, we take a look at the cardiac enzyme test and the possible causes behind elevated cardiac enzyme levels. We also look at what treatments may be required if someone has high cardiac enzyme levels.
What is a cardiac enzyme test?
A cardiac enzyme test is a blood test that measures the cardiac enzymes in the blood. A technician will insert a needle into a person’s arm and draw a sample of blood. They will send the sample to a lab where it will be analyzed for cardiac enzymes.
People undergoing a cardiac enzyme test do not need to fast or undergo any special preparations. Doctors often order this test in an emergency situation when they suspect a person may be having a heart attack.
What do elevated cardiac enzymes mean?
The results of a cardiac enzyme test can indicate if someone had a heart attack.
Levels of troponin are normally so low that this enzyme is undetectable in the blood. If someone’s cardiac enzyme test comes back positive for troponin, they have likely had a heart attack or injury to the heart.
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