Objective—To evaluate a rapid immunoturbidimetric assay for myoglobin and to investigate its clinical usefulness in the early detection of acute myocardial infarction.
Design—Prospective study. Immunoturbidimetrically determined myoglobin concentrations were compared with radioimmunoassay results obtained with the same blood samples. The diagnostic performance of myoglobin determination was compared with creatine kinase and creatine kinase MB activity (current standard of routine diagnosis).
Settings—Part 1: coronary care unit. Part 2: emergency room in a university hospital.
Patients—Part 1: 30 patients with acute myocardial infarction admitted not later than four hours (median two hours) after the onset of symptoms. Part 2: 126 patients admitted to the emergency room with chest pain not caused by trauma (51 cases of acute myocardial infarction, 51 cases of angina pectoris, and 24 cases of chest pain not related to coronary artery disease).
Interventions—Part 1: routine treatment including intravenous thrombolytic treatment (28 patients). Part 2: routine emergency treatment without thrombolytic treatment.
Main outcome measures—The analytical quality of the immunoturbidimetric myoglobin assay and a comparison between the myoglobin assay and creatine kinase and creatine kinase MB for diagnostic sensitivity and performance.
Results—The immunoturbidimetric myoglobin assay was fast and convenient and gave myoglobin determinations of high analytical quality. The concentration of myoglobin increased, peaked, and returned to the reference range significantly earlier than creatine kinase (p≤ 0·0001) and creatine kinase MB (p≤ 0·0002). Before thrombolytic therapy was started the diagnostic sensitivity of myoglobin was significantly higher than that of creatine kinase MB activity 0–6 h after the onset of chest pain and significantly higher (0·82 ν 0·29) than creatine kinase 2–4 h after the onset of chest pain. In almost all patients (92%) plasma myoglobin concentrations were increased 4–6 h after the onset of chest pain.
Conclusion—Myoglobin was more sensitive in detecting early myocardial infarction than creatine kinase and creatine kinase MB activity. Immunoturbidimetric myoglobin measurements could be useful in the early evaluation of patients with suspected myocardial infarction because this assay takes less than two minutes.