Abnormal cardiac enzyme responses after strenuous exercise: alternative diagnostic aids
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Serial estimations of activities of creatine kinase and its MB isoenzyme, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase and of concentrations of alpha(1)-acid glycoprotein were performed in 15 healthy well-trained male marathon runners. Estimations were made initially within three days before a race and then one, 24, and 96 hours after the race. Technetium-99m pyrophosphate myocardial scintigraphy was carried out at the initial prerace assessment and repeated 48 to 96 hours after the race. None of the subjects developed cardiac symptoms during or after the race.Activities of creatine kinase and creatine kinase MB became maximal 24 hours after the race. One and 96 hours after the race two and five subjects, respectively, showed amounts of creatine kinase MB totalling 5% or more of total creatine kinase. Lactate dehydrogenase activity peaked at one hour after the race, and activities of aspartate and alanine aminotransferases peaked at 24 and 96 hours after the race, respectively. Activities of all these enzymes showed a significant increase from prerace values during the rest of the study. Electrocardiographic features noted were similar to those reported elsewhere in athletes under similar conditions. They included first-degree heart block, incomplete right bundle-branch block, left ventricular hypertrophy, pseudoischaemic T-wave changes, and early repolarisation of variant ST-segment elevations in precordial leads. Technetium-99m pyrophosphate myocardial scintigraphy did not show evidence of myocardial damage before or after the race. Alpha(1)-acid glycoprotein concentrations were normal throughout.These data suggest that reliance on standard enzyme estimations and electrocardiographic criteria may yield false-positive indicators of myocardial injury during prolonged strenuous exercise. Technetium-99m pyrophosphate scintigraphy and alpha(1)-acid glycoprotein measurements offer additional information and may usefully be employed in evaluating circulatory collapse associated with such exercise.