Significance of Asymptomatic Hyper Creatine-Kinase Emia

J Clin Neuromuscul Dis. 2019 Dec;21(2):90-102. doi: 10.1097/CND.0000000000000269.


Objectives: Whether asymptomatic hyper-CKemia (AHCE) should prompt a thorough work-up for muscle disease or not is controversially discussed. This review aims at summarizing and discussing recent findings concerning the cause, frequency, evolution, and work-up of conditions manifesting as AHCE and normal or abnormal electromyography (EMG) respectively muscle biopsy.

Methods: Systematic PubMed search.

Results: There are numerous primary (hereditary) and acquired myopathies that manifest with permanent, recurrent, or temporary AHCE with/without myopathic EMG or muscle biopsy. AHCE particularly occurs at onset of these conditions, which include dystrophinopathies, myotilinopathies, calpainopathy, caveolinopathy, dysferlinopathy, central core disease, multicore disease, desminopathy, MD1, MD2, hypoPP, malignant hyperthermia susceptibility, Pompe disease, McArdle disease, myoadenylate deaminase-deficiency, CPT2-deficiency, mitochondrial disorders, or myopathy with tubular aggregates. Most likely, other primary myopathies manifest with AHCE as well, without having been reported. Patients with AHCE should be taken seriously and repeated CK determination must be conducted. If hyper-CKemia is persisting or recurrent, these patients should undergo an EMG and eventually muscle biopsy. If noninformative, genetic work-up by a panel or whole exome sequencing should be initiated, irrespective of the family history. Patients with AHCE should avoid excessive exercise, require sufficient hydration, require counseling with regard to the risk of malignant hyperthermia, and should inform anesthesiologists and surgeons about their condition before elective surgery.

Conclusions: Recurrent AHCE should be taken seriously and managed with conventional work-up. If noninformative, genetic work-up should follow irrespective of the family history.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Creatine Kinase / blood*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Mitochondrial Diseases
  • Muscular Diseases / blood*


  • Creatine Kinase