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Cardiac Enzymes

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Updated September 05, 2008

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Cardiac Enzymes
Photo Copyright A.D.A.M
Definition: Cardiac enzymes are proteins that are in found the heart muscle. They do not circulate in the bloodstream.

When damage occurs to the heart muscle, such as during a myocardial infarction (heart attack), cardiac enzymes leak into the bloodstream. Thus, measuring cardiac enzymes in the blood can help doctors to determine whether heart cell damage has occurred.

Cardiac enzyme blood tests are particularly important in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in helping doctors distinguish between a diagnosis of unstable angina or heart attack.

The cardiac enzyme blood tests that are particularly helpful in this regard are measurements of the enzymes troponin, CK, and CK-MB.

Also Known As: biomarkers

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