Clinical assessment of heart-type fatty acid binding protein in early diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome

Eur J Emerg Med. 2008 Jun;15(3):140-4. doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0b013e3282efd47a.


Background: Early identification of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in the emergency room is still a difficult task. The objective of this study is to estimate the reliability of heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP) in identifying ACS in the early stage of chest pain onset.

Methods: In a prospective multicentre study in emergency room patients with suspected ACS lasting less than 3 h, heart heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP) was compared with conventional biomarkers. Protein levels >7 ng/ml were considered positive results.

Results: A total of 419 patients were analyzed. Acute myocardial infarction was diagnosed in 148 patients (35%). H-FABP sensitivity was 60% (89 out of 148 patients), significantly higher than troponin T [19% (28 out of 148 patients); P<0,05]. Specificity of troponin T, however, [99% (270 out of 271 patients)] was better than H-FABP [88% (237 out of 271 patients)], though this was not statistically significant.

Conclusion: H-FABP can be a useful early diagnostic biochemical marker, particularly within the first 6 h of symptoms, in patients attending the emergency department.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / blood
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Fatty Acid Binding Protein 3
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Troponin T / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • FABP3 protein, human
  • Fatty Acid Binding Protein 3
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Troponin T