High-sensitivity versus conventional troponin in the emergency department for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction

Crit Care. 2011 Jun 10;15(3):R147. doi: 10.1186/cc10270.


Introduction: Recently, newer assays for cardiac troponin (cTn) have been developed which are able to detect changes in concentration of the biomarker at or below the 99th percentile for a normal population. The objective of this study was to compare the diagnostic performance of a new high-sensitivity troponin T (HsTnT) assay to that of conventional cTnI for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) according to pretest probability (PTP).

Methods: In consecutive patients who presented to our emergency departments with chest pain suggestive of AMI, levels of HsTnT were measured at presentation, blinded to the emergency physicians, who were asked to estimate the empirical PTP of AMI. The discharge diagnosis was adjudicated by two independent experts on the basis of all available data.

Results: A total of 317 patients were included, comprising 149 (47%) who were considered to have low PTP, 109 (34%) who were considered to have moderate PTP and 59 (19%) who were considered to have high PTP. AMI was confirmed in 45 patients (14%), 22 (9%) of whom were considered to have low to moderate PTP and 23 (39%) of whom were considered to have high PTP (P < 0.001). In the low to moderate PTP group, HsTnT levels ≥ 0.014 μg/L identified AMI with a higher sensitivity than cTnI (91%, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 79 to 100, vs. 77% (95% CI 60 to 95); P = 0.001), but the negative predictive value was not different (99% (95% CI 98 to 100) vs. 98% (95% CI 96 to 100)). There was no difference in area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve between HsTnT and cTnI (0.93 (95% CI 0.90 to 0.98) vs. 0.94 (95% CI 0.88 to 0.97), respectively).

Conclusions: In patients with low to moderate PTP of AMI, HsTnT is slightly more useful than cTnI. Our results confirm that the use of HsTnT has a higher sensitivity than conventional cTnI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood*
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Troponin / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin