In the past, an AMI was primarily diagnosed by evaluating symptoms at patient presentation, ECG measurement, and results of enzyme assays that were considered cardiac enzymes. The enzymes, creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LD), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were assayed several times a day often for several days to observe peak concentration and return to normal level for each enzyme. The first assay result was the baseline level or baseline concentration. Isoenzymes of CK and LD were later added for AMI diagnosis. All three of these enzymes are found in other tissues, making the diagnosis difficult and lengthy. In the 1980s, CK isoenzyme, CK-MB, though not totally cardiac specific, became the benchmark marker for an AMI. None of these enzymes are in any of the current recommendations except for CK-MB
Current diagnosis, monitoring, and screening relating to heart disease includes measurement of lipids, proteins, enzymes, and other biomolecules. Risk stratification for cardiac and vascular disease is an additional role for measurement of these analytes. The physiological changes in the development of heart disease are better understood and the role of the clinical laboratory is greatly expanded.
Today's markers are significant because of their location in the myocyte, the kinetics of their release in myocyte damage, and their rate of clearance from peripheral blood.