Does this test have other names?

Serum myoglobins, myoglobin-serum

What is this test?

This test measures the amount of a protein called myoglobin in your blood. It’s done to help diagnose conditions caused by muscle damage.

Myoglobin is found in your heart and skeletal muscles. There it captures oxygen that muscle cells use for energy. When you have a heart attack or severe muscle damage, myoglobin is released into your blood.

Myoglobin increases in your blood 2 to 3 hours after the first symptoms of muscle damage. It usually peaks about 8 to 12 hours later.

Your kidneys filter your blood for myoglobin so that it can be passed out of your body in your urine. But too much myoglobin can overwhelm your kidneys and lead to kidney failure. In some cases, healthcare providers will use a urine test for myoglobin to help find the hazard and protect your kidney health.

Why do I need this test?

You may need this test if your healthcare provider suspects you have had a heart attack, which causes damage to the heart muscle. This test is usually done every 2 or 3 hours if you go to the emergency room with chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack.

You may also need this test if you have a severe muscle injury, such as with trauma or a condition that damages muscle. Symptoms of muscle injury or damage include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Belly pain

If your myoglobin level rises too high, you may have to get intravenous fluids or other treatments to help flush the extra myoglobin out of your body. This test will help your healthcare provider find out whether your injuries need treatment right away.