Creatine kinase as a prognostic indicator in electrical injury

D. H. Ahrenholz, W. Schubert, L. D. Solem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Serial serum creatine kinase (CK) and creatine kinase myocardial band isoenzyme (CK-MB) levels were obtained from 116 of 125 electrical burn patients admitted from 1976 through 1986. We divided patients into three groups (peak CK within 2 days after admission) as follows: group 1, CK<400 U/L; group 2, CK = 400 to 2500 U/L; group 3, CK>2500 U/L. Clinical myocardial infarction (MI) was determined by ischemic ECG changes, LDH isoenzyme patterns, and clinical course. Skin grafts occurred in 2 of 24 patients from group 1, in 15 of 31 from group 2, and in 37 of 61 from group 3. Hospital stay (mean ±SEM) was 4.6 ± 1.3 days for group 1, 20.2 ± 5.4 for group 2, and 37.7 ± 3.6 for group 3. Group 1 patients required no amputations; group 2 had 1 limb and 5 digit amputations; group 3 had 22 limb and 16 digit amputations. Only three clinical MIs were found (all in group 3), although 1 of 31 patients from group 2 and 32 of 61 from group 3 had CK-MB>4%. Highly elevated CK and CK-MB are associated with longer hospitalization, and a greater risk of skin grafting or amputation, than with levels <400 U/L. Clinical MI is rare and cannot be diagnosed by elevated CK-MB alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-747
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988


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