The Role of Cardiac Enzymes
Cardiac enzymes are like other enzymes in that they regulate the various processes that keep the organ working properly and the blood flowing to the rest of your body. This can include speeding up or slowing down what the body does inherently in order to actually get the desired effect.
Most of the discussion about cardiac enzymes is not about what they do but about when they’re not doing what they should, which refers to cardiac enzymes and their presence in the blood. Elevated blood levels of cardiac enzymes are similar to elevated liver enzymes in the blood, in that they are generally seen as indicators of injury or damage of some kind.4 Here are some of the most common cardiac enzymes that are likely to show up:
- Creatine Kinase
If you plan on getting a cardiac enzyme test, you want to have a few items prepared, including a health history covering any previous heart health issues, recent surgeries, the duration of symptoms, or the presence of high blood pressure. This is much like a typical blood test, and your doctor may also check for other biomarkers like:
- Blood glucose
- Platelet levels
Heart attacks are probably the most common cause for elevated troponin in the blood, but that doesn’t mean that heart attacks are the only potential cause. Impaired blood flow to the brain, respiratory conditions, kidney problems and sepsis can all lead to high levels of troponin in the blood.6
What Is a Cardiac Enzyme Test?
A cardiac enzyme test is one tool doctors use to see if you’re having or already had a heart attack. You might also get the test if you have symptoms of a blockage in your heart’s arteries such as:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Feeling very weak or tired
- Shortness of breath
- Sweating and cool, clammy skin
- Throwing up or feeling like you need to
- Severe stress on the heart can damage its muscle. When that happens, your heart releases certain enzymes a kind of protein into your blood.
- After a heart attack, the level of these enzymes can get pretty high. So checking them is a good way for your doctor to know something serious is going on.
- A cardiac enzyme test does just that. Your doctor might want to measure your enzymes to figure out what’s happening with your heart.
- Your doctor will most likely test for an enzyme called troponin. It goes into your blood soon after a heart attack. It stays at high levels even after other enzymes have gone back to normal.