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Alternative namesCK; Creatine kinase; Creatine phosphokinase
DefinitionA CPK is a blood test that measures creatine phosphokinase (CPK), an enzyme found predominantly in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscle. When the total CPK level is substantially elevated, it usually indicates injury or stress to one or more of these areas.
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and a tourniquet (an elastic band) or blood pressure cuff is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and cause veins below the tourniquet to distend (fill with blood).
A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an airtight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the tourniquet is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
This test may be repeated over 2 or 3 days for a hospitalized patient. The pattern of a rise or fall in CPK (or CPK isoenzymes ) can be diagnostically significant.
Infant or young child:
How to prepare for the test
Usually, no special preparation is necessary.
Infants and children:
How the test will feelWhen the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people may feel moderate pain, while others may feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performed
When a muscle is damaged, CPK leaks into the bloodstream. Determining which isoenzyme (specific form of CPK) is elevated will help determine which tissue has been damaged.
This test may be used for the following reasons:
What abnormal results meanHigher than normal total CPK levels may be seen withconditions such as the following:
What the risks are
Other tests should be conducted to determine the exact location of muscle damage.
Factors that can affect test results include cardiac catheterization , intramuscular injections, trauma to muscles, recent surgery, and vigorous and prolonged exercise.
Drugs that can increase CPK measurements include amphotericin B, ampicillin, some anesthetics, anticoagulants, aspirin, clofibrate, dexamethasone, furosemide, morphine, alcohol, and cocaine.
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample may be more difficult from some people than from others.
Update Date: 5/20/2003Bridget Martell, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT