- It is still undecided in clinical medicine if an increased serum CK-MB level indicates irreversible myocardial damage. We measured CK and AST activities on three serum samples obtained during the first 24 hours following admission of patients with a clinical history suggesting myocardial ischemia. Isoenzymes were not separated when CK and AST activities were less than 300 U/L and 35 U/L respectively, but were fractionated when the enzyme activities doubled during the first 24 hours even within their normal ranges. Over a three-year period this doubling occurred in 30 patients, one of whom was admitted twice to the hospital. The serum CK-MB fractions of these patients were 6% or greater in 26 and less than 6% in 5 admissions. The final clinical diagnosis given to the patients on 20 of these 26 admissions was acute subendocardial infarction. None of the five patients with a CK-MB fraction less than 6% had a clinical diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. A comparative study of 102 patients with higher average enzyme activities but without doubling of both enzymes during a 24-hour period, did not yield a CK-MB of 6% or greater. None of this group of patients was diagnosed clinically as having had acute myocardial infarction.