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Myoglobin

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Also known as: Urine myoglobin; Serum myoglobin
Formal name: Myoglobin

The Test Sample

What is being tested?

Myoglobin is a small, oxygen-binding protein found in heart and skeletal muscles. It traps oxygen within muscle cells, allowing the cells to produce the energy required for muscular contraction. When heart or skeletal muscle is injured, myoglobin is released into the blood. Increased concentrations can be measured within a few hours following injury.

Myoglobin is filtered from the blood by the kidneys and is excreted into the urine. Large quantities of myoglobin are toxic to the kidneys. If significant amounts of myoglobin are released into the bloodstream, which can happen after severe trauma or muscle inuries, the excess myoglobin may cause damage to the kidneys and eventually result in kidney failure. Measurement of myoglobin in urine helps to detect this condition. 

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is taken by needle from a vein in the arm or a random urine sample is collected.

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.