CRC critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences

Myoglobin: methods and diagnostic uses.

PMID 401372


Myoglobin is the oxygen-binding protein characteristic of skeletal and cardiac muscle. With muscle disease or dysfunction, myoglobin may enter the circulation, and after renal clearance, it may also appear in the urine. Therefore, the presence of myoglobinemia and myoglobinuria may serve as indicators of the presence and severity of muscle disease. With newly developed methods of detection, myoglobinemia and myoglobinuria are now recognized as complications of trauma, ischemia, surgery, states of exertion and stress, metabolic abnormalities, inherited enzyme disorders, toxin and drug actions, and inflammatory states. Infarction of the heart muscle also can be detected by myoglobin assay. Persistent myoglobinuric states may be complicated by renal failure and electrolyte imbalance. The diagnosis of myoglobinemia and myoglobinuria can be now confirmed with the use of immunoassay techniques. Although not yet widely available, they offer the possibility of the specificity and sensitivity needed for clinical use.