Cardiac biomarkers are important in heart disease where there is damage to the myocardium and myocytes. Interrupted or blocked blood flow and decreased oxygen cause injury to the myocytes and eventually cell death. As the myocytes become necrotic, their membranes are disrupted and intracellular biomolecules diffuse into the cardiac microvasculature. These compounds, many of which are biomarkers, then enter the peripheral circulation.
Cardiac biomarkers are relied upon for the detection and monitoring of two categories of cardiovascular disease:
- Acute ischemic disease (an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is the most serious disease in this category)
- Heart failure