1. If I have chest pain, does that mean I am having a heart attack?
Many other problems can cause chest pain, and it is not always possible to tell just from the type of chest pain whether or not you are having a heart attack. Many people have chest pain from straining the muscles in their chest, and chest pain can occur with some lung problems. Chest pain can be a warning sign of hardening of the arteries of the heart (coronary artery disease or CAD). Chest pain that occurs during exercise, hard work, or at times of stress, lasts for a few minutes and goes away with rest is called angina. If the pain lasts longer than just a few minutes, especially if it occurs when you are resting, seek immediate medical attention.
Doctors may use more than one test to determine if a person who has chest pain is having a heart attack. Troponin is generally considered the most accurate test. Besides CK-MB, a CK test and a myoglobin test may be performed, although they are less specific other conditions can also produce an increase in these two tests.
People with skeletal muscle damage may have elevated CK-MB levels. To help differentiate heart attack and skeletal muscle damage, a CK index can be calculated using CK-MB and total CK as follows: CK index = (CK-MB, ng/mL) x100 / (total CK activity, IU/L). If CK-MB is elevated and the CK index in higher than 2.5 to 3.0, heart damage is likely.
This article was last reviewed on February 26, 2013. | This article was last modified on February 24, 2015.
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