OBJECTIVE--To determine whether transient ST-T alterations in patients with unstable angina are associated with an increase in plasma glycogen phosphorylase BB concentrations on admission to hospital. DESIGN--Prospective screening of patients with unstable angina for markers of myocardial cell damage. SETTING--Accident and emergency department of university hospital. PATIENTS--48 consecutive patients admitted for angina pectoris (18 with transient ST-T alterations). None of the patients had acute myocardial infarction according to standard criteria. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Creatine kinase and creatine kinase MB activities, creatine kinase MB mass concentration, and myoglobin, cardiac troponin T, and glycogen phosphorylase BB concentrations on admission. RESULTS--All variables except for creatine kinase and creatine kinase MB activities were significantly higher on admission in patients with unstable angina and transient ST-T alterations than in patients without. However, glycogen phosphorylase BB concentration was the only marker that was significantly (p = 0.0001) increased above its discriminator value in most patients (16). In the 18 patients with transient ST-T alterations creatine kinase MB mass concentration and troponin T and myoglobin concentrations were significantly (p = 0.0001) less commonly increased on admission (in five, three, and two patients, respectively). CONCLUSIONS--The early release of glycogen phosphorylase BB may help to identify high risk patients with unstable angina even on admission to an emergency department. Glycogen phosphorylase BB concentrations could help to guide decisions about patient management.
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