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Creatine Kinase

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Also known as: CK; Total CK; Creatine Phosphokinase; CPK
Formal name: Creatine Kinase

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The Test Sample

What is being tested?

Creatine kinase (CK) is an enzyme found in the heart, brain, skeletal muscle, and other tissues. Increased amounts of CK are released into the blood when there is muscle damage. This test measures the amount of creatine kinase in the blood.

The small amount of CK that is normally in the blood comes primarily from skeletal muscles. Any condition that causes muscle damage and/or interferes with muscle energy production or use can cause an increase in CK. For example, strenuous exercise and inflammation of muscles, called myositis, can increase CK as can muscle diseases (myopathies) such as muscular dystrophy. Rhabdomyolysis, an extreme breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, is associated with significantly elevated levels of CK.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is taken by needle from a vein in the arm.

NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.

Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.