Creatine phosphokinase (CPK) is an enzyme in the body. It is found mainly in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscle. This article discusses the test to measure the amount of CPK in the blood.
A blood sample is needed. This may be taken from a vein. The procedure is called a venipuncture.
This test may be repeated over 2 or 3 days if you are a patient in the hospital.
No special preparation is needed most of the time.
Tell your health care provider about any medicines you are taking. Drugs that can increase CPK measurements include amphotericin B, certain anesthetics, statins, fibrates, dexamethasone, alcohol, and cocaine.
You may feel slight pain when the needle is inserted to draw blood. Some people feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
When the total CPK level is very high, it most often means there has been injury or stress to muscle tissue, the heart, or the brain.
Muscle tissue injury is most likely. When a muscle is damaged, CPK leaks into the bloodstream. Finding which specific form of CPK is high helps determine which tissue has been damaged.
This test may be used to:
The pattern and timing of a rise or fall in CPK levels can be significant in making a diagnosis. This is particularly true if a heart attack is suspected.
In most cases other tests are used instead of or with this test to diagnose a heart attack.
Total CPK normal values:
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
High CPK levels may be seen in people who have:
Other conditions that may give positive test results include:
Risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Other tests should be done to find the exact location of muscle damage.
Factors that may affect test results include cardiac catheterization, intramuscular injections, trauma to muscles, recent surgery, and heavy exercise.
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Review Date: 1/28/2019
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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