The extent of coronary atherosclerosis is associated with increasing circulating levels of high sensitive cardiac troponin T

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2010 Jun;30(6):1269-75. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.109.200394. Epub 2010 Mar 18.


Objective: This study explored the relationship between coronary atherosclerotic plaque burden and quantifiable circulating levels of troponin measured with a recently introduced high sensitive cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) assay.

Methods and results: Cardiac patients suspected of having coronary artery disease (CAD) but without acute coronary syndrome were studied. Cardiac troponin T levels were assessed using the fifth-generation hs-cTnT assay. All patients (n=615) underwent cardiac computed tomographic angiography (CCTA). On the basis of CCTA, patients were classified as having no CAD or mild (<50% lesion), moderate (50% to 70% lesion), severe (>70% lesion), or multivessel CAD (multiple >70% lesions). As a comparison, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels were measured. Progressively increasing hs-cTnT levels were found in patients with mild (median, 4.5 ng/L), moderate (median, 5.5 ng/L), severe (median, 5.7 ng/L), and multivessel (median, 8.6 ng/L) CAD compared with patients without CAD (median, 3.7 ng/L) (all P<0.01). For high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, no such relationship was observed. In patients without CAD, 11% showed hs-cTnT levels in the highest quartile, compared with 62% in the multivessel disease group (P<0.05). Multivariance analysis identified hs-cTnT as an independent risk factor for the presence of CAD.

Conclusions: In patients without acute coronary syndrome, even mild CAD is associated with quantifiable circulating levels of hs-cTnT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Coronary Angiography / methods
  • Coronary Stenosis / blood*
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Stenosis / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / blood
  • Odds Ratio
  • Peptide Fragments / blood
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Troponin T / blood*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Biomarkers
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Troponin T
  • pro-brain natriuretic peptide (1-76)
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain
  • C-Reactive Protein