Background: Despite improved laboratory assays for cardiac markers and a revised standard for definition of myocardial infarction (AMI), early detection of coronary ischemia in unselected patients with chest pain remains a difficult challenge.
Methods: Rapid measurements of troponin I (TnI), creatine kinase MB (CK-MB), and myoglobin were performed in 197 consecutive patients with chest pain and a nondiagnostic electrocardiogram for AMI. The early diagnostic performances of these markers and different multimarker strategies were evaluated and compared. Diagnosis of AMI was based on European Society of Cardiology/American College of Cardiology criteria.
Results: At a given specificity of 95%, TnI yielded the highest sensitivity of all markers at all time points. A TnI cutoff corresponding to the 10% coefficient of variation (0.1 microg/L) demonstrated a cumulative sensitivity of 93% with a corresponding specificity of 81% at 2 hours. The sensitivity was considerably higher compared to CK-MB and myoglobin, even considering patients with a short delay until admission. Using the 99th percentile of TnI results as a cutoff (0.07 microg/L) produced a cumulative sensitivity of 98% at 2 hours, but its usefulness was limited due to low specificities. Multimarker strategies including TnI and/or myoglobin did not provide a superior overall diagnostic performance compared to TnI using the 0.1 microg/L cutoff.
Conclusion: A TnI cutoff corresponding to the 10% coefficient of variation was most appropriate for early diagnosis of AMI. A lower TnI cutoff may be useful for very early exclusion of AMI. CK-MB and in particular myoglobin did not offer additional diagnostic value.