Diagnostic and prognostic utility of troponin estimation in patients presenting with syncope: a prospective cohort study

Emerg Med J. 2010 Apr;27(4):272-6. doi: 10.1136/emj.2008.068635.


Aims: To primarily assess the value of troponin I to identify acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and second, to predict 1-month serious outcome or all-cause death in patients presenting with syncope to the Emergency Department (ED).

Design: Prospective cohort study of all adult patients presenting to the ED after an episode of syncope.

Methods: In admitted patients, plasma troponin I was measured 12 h after syncope, and in discharged patients, between 12 h and 7 days following discharge. Primary endpoints were the diagnosis of AMI, and the composite endpoint of serious outcome or all-cause death at 1 month.

Results: Over an 8-month period, 289 patients were recruited. Troponin I was obtained in 186 admitted patients and was elevated in 13 (7%), and obtained in 103 discharged patients and was raised in only one (1%). Four patients had an AMI (1.4%) and all had ischaemic electrocardiographic (ECG) changes on their presenting ED ECG (ST segment deviation or pathological Q waves) that were 100% sensitive and 72% specific for AMI with a 100% negative predictive value. Seven of the 14 patients (50%) with a raised troponin I had a serious outcome that did not include AMI, or all-cause death compared with 16 of the 267 patients (6%) without a raised troponin (p<0.0001).

Conclusions: AMI is infrequent (1.4%), and estimation of troponin I provides little additional benefit to the presenting ED ECG in identifying patients with syncope due to AMI. Troponin I should not be used to rule out AMI in adult patients presenting with isolated syncope. Troponin I may predict 1-month serious outcome or all-cause death in syncope.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Syncope / blood*
  • Troponin I / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin I