The pyruvate kinase test measures the level of the enzyme pyruvate kinase in the blood.
Pyruvate kinase is an enzyme found in red blood cells that helps change sugar in the blood (glucose) to energy when oxygen levels are low.
How the Test is Performed
A blood sample is needed.
In the laboratory, white blood cells are removed because they can alter test results. The level of pyruvate kinase is then measured.
How to Prepare for the Test
No special preparation is necessary.
If your child is having this test, it may help to explain how the test will feel and even demonstrate on a doll. Explain the reason for the test. Knowing the "how and why" may reduce your child's anxiety.
How the Test will Feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.
Why the Test is Performed
This test is done to detect an abnormal low level of pyruvate kinase. If a person does not have enough of this enzyme, red blood cells break down faster than normal, a condition called hemolytic anemia.
Price EA, Otis S, Schrier SL. Red blood cell enzymopathies. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Silberstein LE, et al., eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 42.
Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.