The cardiac troponins form part of the regulatory mechanism for muscle contraction. Specific cardiac isoforms of cardiac troponin T and cardiac troponin I exist and commercially available immunoassay systems have been developed for their measurement. A large number of clinical and analytical studies have been performed and the measurement of cardiac troponins is now considered the 'gold standard' biochemical test for diagnosis of myocardial damage. There have been advances in understanding the development and structure of troponins and their degradation following myocardial cell necrosis. This has contributed to the understanding of the problems with current assays. Greater clinical use has also highlighted areas of analytical and clinical confusion. The assays are reviewed based on manufacturers' information, current published material as well as the authors' in-house experience.