OBJECTIVE--To assess the diagnostic value at admission of creatine kinase MB mass concentration, alone or in combination with electrocardiographic changes, in suspected myocardial infarction. DESIGN--Prospective study of all consecutive patients admitted within 12 hours after onset of chest pain to a coronary care unit for evaluation of suspected myocardial infarction. SETTING--Large regional hospital. PATIENTS--In 297 patients creatine kinase and creatine kinase MB activities and creatine kinase MB mass concentration were determined. Myocardial infarction according to the criteria of the World Health Organisation was diagnosed in 154 patients and excluded in 143 patients (including 70 with unstable angina pectoris). RESULTS--Sensitivity/specificity for creatine kinase MB mass concentration in patients admitted within 4 hours and 4-12 hours after onset of chest pain were 45%/94% and 76%/79% respectively. Corresponding values for creatine kinase activity were 20%/89% and 59%/83%, and for creatine kinase MB activity 16%/87% and 53%/87%. Raised creatine kinase MB mass concentration was seen in 17% of patients with unstable angina pectoris. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that independent predictors of acute myocardial infarction in patients admitted within 4 hours after onset of chest pain were electrocardiographic changes and creatine kinase MB mass concentration on admission; in patients admitted 4-12 hours after the onset of pain independent predictors were electrocardiographic changes and creatine kinase MB mass concentration and activity. CONCLUSION--Creatine kinase MB mass concentration is a more sensitive marker for myocardial infarction than the activity of creatine kinase and its MB isoenzyme. Electrocardiographic changes on admission in combination with creatine kinase MB mass concentration (instead of creatine kinase and creatine kinase MB activities) are best in diagnosing myocardial infarction.
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