Early diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction in patients with pre-existing coronary artery disease using more sensitive cardiac troponin assays

Eur Heart J. 2012 Apr;33(8):988-97. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehr376. Epub 2011 Oct 31.


Aims: We sought to examine the diagnostic and prognostic utility of sensitive cardiac troponin (cTn) assays in patients with pre-existing coronary artery disease (CAD).

Methods and results: We conducted a multicentre study to examine the diagnostic accuracy of one high-sensitive and two sensitive cTn assays in 1098 consecutive patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), of whom 401 (37%) had pre-existing CAD. Measurements of Roche high-sensitive cTnT (hs-cTnT), Siemens cTnI-Ultra, Abbott-Architect cTnI and the standard assay (Roche cTnT) were performed in a blinded fashion. The final diagnosis was adjudicated by two independent cardiologists. Acute myocardial infarction was the final diagnosis in 19% of CAD patients. Among patients with diagnoses other than AMI, baseline cTn levels were elevated above the 99th percentile with Roche hs-cTnT in 40%, with Siemens TnI-Ultra in 15%, and Abbott-Architect cTnI in 13% of them. In patients with pre-existing CAD, the diagnostic accuracy at presentation, quantified by the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC), was significantly greater for the sensitive cTn assays compared with the standard assay (AUC for Roche hs-cTnT, 0.92; Siemens cTnI-Ultra, 0.94; and Abbott-Architect cTnI, 0.93 vs. AUC for the standard assay, 0.87; P < 0.01 for all comparisons). Elevated levels of cTn measured with the sensitive assays predicted mortality irrespective of pre-existing CAD, age, sex, and cardiovascular risk factors.

Conclusion: Sensitive cTn assays have high-diagnostic accuracy also in CAD patients. Mild elevations are common in non-AMI patients and test-specific optimal cut-off levels tend to be higher in CAD patients than in patients without history of CAD. Sensitive cTn assays also retain prognostic value. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00470587).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Troponin T / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin T

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00470587