creatine phosphokinase test

The body requires a balanced secretion of enzymes to function. An imbalanced range of enzymes reflects a medical condition that requires treatment. Among various enzymes, CPK or creatine phosphokinase is crucial for the proper functioning of the muscles. Doctors advise their patients to take a creatine phosphokinase test to measure the level of CPK in their bloodstream.

CPK enzyme is broken into three parts, namely 

  • CPK 1: It is found primarily in the lungs and brain.
  • CPK 2: Problems in the heart are determined by this type.
  • CPK 3: Skeletal muscle mostly contains this enzyme.

The result of the CPK enzyme test helps doctors identify which part of the body is affected. 

What are the Uses of the CPK Enzyme Test?

A CPK test is generally performed to detect the following conditions:

  • The cause of chest pain.
  • Chances of a heart attack.
  • Determine the damage to muscle or heart tissues.

In addition to the above-mentioned medical conditions, this test also helps in finding muscular dystrophy. It results in weakness or muscle loss over time. Some of the common muscular dystrophies include the following:

  • Polymyositis: An inflammatory disease leading to muscular weakness.
  • Dermatomyositis: This inflammatory disorder affects muscle and skin.
  • Malignant hyperthermia: Patients inherit this disease, which leads to muscle contractions.
  • Muscle breakdown due to prolonged seizures, over-exercising, or taking certain medications.

Preparation for CPK Enzyme Test

A CPK test is similar to any regular blood test. Patients don’t need to follow a specific preparation process like fasting. However, patients must inform their doctors about over-the-counter or prescription medications they take because certain substances increase the level of CPK in the bloodstream. These include the following medicines:

  • Steroids
  • Medicines for lowering cholesterol
  • Anti-fungal medication.

The Procedure of CPK Enzyme Test

For this test, the lab technician draws blood from a vein in the patient’s hand or arm. The procedure of drawing blood samples is mentioned below:

  • The technicians place a band around the arm.
  • They find a vein to take the blood sample and prick it with a needle.
  • Afterwards, they draw sufficient blood from the vein and store it in a sterilized tube.
  • Finally, they remove the band around the arm and use an adhesive bandage to stop the flow of blood at the pricking site.

Result of CPK Enzyme Test

Test results may slightly vary from one lab to another because they generally use different measurements. However, a normal result generally shows a CPK value of 10 to 120 mcg/L or micrograms per liter.

If the test results show a value above this figure, it may point to the following conditions:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke or brain injury
  • Delirium tremens
  • Myopathy
  • Muscular dystrophies
  • Pulmonary infarction
  • Heart muscle inflammation
  • Rhabdomyolysis


The creatine phosphokinase test is crucial for determining various heart, brain, or muscle-related diseases. Once the test results are available, patients must consult their healthcare provider to understand their health problems and take proper treatment. In addition, if a person is hospitalized, the medical practitioner might conduct repeated CPK tests in a gap of two to three days for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

By Jack

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