I wrote a little post on some of the more important serum markers you can use to see if someone has had a myocardial infarction.
The two most commonly used markers these days are troponins and CK (creatine kinase). Each as their own special features that make it good for diagnosing certain kinds of MIs.
You don’t have to know these in detail (although I have seen questions in dental decks…so perhaps it is a good review for boards). We have enough to cover in class without getting into too much detail.
Basically, when your cells die, they release the stuff that was inside, and you can detect that stuff in the serum. Often you’re detecting enzymes of some sort. Depending on the amount of that particular marker, and the time elapsed between injury and testing, you can get some kind of idea of whether many cells have undergone irreversible cell damage.