Myoglobin——Normal, High, Low

The normal range of myoglobin is:

0 to 85 nanogram per milliliter (ng/mL)

An increase in blood myoglobin means that there has been very recent injury to muscle tissue. Increased levels can occur, for example, in people who have had:

  • Accidents that result in muscle trauma
  • Seizures
  • Surgery
  • Any muscle disease, such as muscular dystrophy
  • Inflammation of skeletal muscles (myositis)
  • Heart attack

A significantly elevated level of myoglobin may be caused by rhabdomyolysis, the rapid breakdown of muscle tissue.Myoglobin levels are normally very low or not detectable in the urine.High levels of urine myoglobin indicate an increased risk for kidney damage and failure.

Additional tests, such as BUN, creatinine, and urinalysis, are done to monitor kidney function in these people.

When used as a cardiac biomarker, an increase in blood myoglobin may mean that a heart attack has occurred recently but because myoglobin is also found in skeletal muscle, a troponin test is required for confirmation. If myoglobin does not increase within 12 hours following the onset of chest pain, a heart attack is very unlikely.

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