Myocardial infarction is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with chest pain. The presence of human cardiac troponin I (cTnI) in serum is considered to be a highly specific biochemical marker of acute myocardial infarction. In this study we compare the performances of the Abbott AxSYM, Behring Opus Plus, DPC Immulite and Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics Vitros ECi for the measurement of cTnI. The first two methods use a fluorogenic enzyme-linked immunoassay. whereas the last two use chemiluminescent immunometric assays. All procedures are completely automated. Total percentage coefficients of variation using pooled sera ranged from 5.9 to 6.5% for the AxSYM, 14.4 to 25.6% for the Opus, 6.9 to 9.8% for the Immulite and 4.5 to 5.2% for the Vitros ECi method. The closest correlation between methods, obtained from 120 fresh serum samples, was observed between the Vitros ECi and the Immulite methods, with r=0.99, and the regression line was Immulite cTnI 1.505 (95% confidence interval 1.474-1.536) x Vitros cTnI--0.154 (-0.702 to 0.394). Receiver operating characteristic curves were nearly identical for all assays, and the areas under the curves were 0.972, 0.927, 0.967 and 0.969 for the AxSYM, Opus, Immulite and Vitros ECi methods, respectively. There was a significant difference between the AxSYM and Opus methods (P= 0.036).