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.
This article discusses the test to measure the level of pyruvate kinase in your blood.
How the test is performed
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture
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
If your child is to have this test performed, it may be helpful 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 the anxiety your child feels.
How the test will feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterwards, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performed
This test is done to detect abnormally low levels of pyruvate kinase. If you do not have enough of this enzyme, red blood cells break down faster than normal. This can lead to hemolytic anemia, which is a low red blood cell count caused by an accelerated destruction of red blood cells.
Gregg X, Prchal JT. Red Blood Cell Enzymopathies. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 45.
Yee DL, Bollard CM, Geaghan SM. Appendix: Normal Blood Values. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 164.
Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Palm Beach Cancer Institute, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network; Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.