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What is it?
Cardiac markers are blood tests that tell about your heart. The markers may include enzymes (n-zimes), isoenzymes, isoforms and muscle proteins. Enzymes are proteins in your body that speed chemical and biologic reactions. Isoenzymes and isoforms are related to enzymes. Muscle proteins include myoglobin (mi-o-glo-bun) and troponin (tro-poh-nin). When you have damage to your heart these enzymes and proteins get into the blood stream. An increase of the heart markers is one way your caregivers tell if you had a heart attack.
Why do I need it?
If you have chest pain, your caregiver may order these tests. The results of these tests can help caregivers tell if the pain is caused by a heart attack. Each cardiac enzyme, isoenzyme, isoform, and muscle protein has a specific time when it will rise above normal. They also have specific times when they reach their highest point and return to normal. The pattern of these changes helps caregivers find out if you had a heart attack. This pattern also helps them find out how much of the heart was damaged.
How do I get ready for the test?
Your caregiver will tell you when to have your blood test done. The blood test may be done before or after eating.
How is the specimen collected?
A caregiver will put a wide rubber strap around your arm and tighten it. Your skin will be cleaned with alcohol. A small needle attached to a special test tube will be put into a vein in your arm or hand. The tube has suction to pull the blood into it. When the tube is full, the rubber strap, needle and tube are removed. The caregiver will press a piece of cotton where the needle was removed. Tape may then be put over the cotton on your arm.
What do I do after the test?
You may remove the tape and cotton in about 20 to 30 minutes. Your caregiver will explain what your test results mean for you. Follow the instructions of your caregiver.
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your lab tests. You can then discuss the results with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.