Acute coronary syndromes comprise a large spectrum of clinical conditions ranging from unstable angina pectoris to acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction. Chest pain is usually the major symptom of atherosclerotic heart disease; however, it may be challenging to diagnose correctly, especially in the emergency department, because of the ambiguous way that pain is characterized by some patients. Cardiac troponins are sensitive and specific biomarkers used in the diagnosis of myocardial infarction that are released into the bloodstream when cardiac myocytes are damaged by acute ischemia or any other mechanism. They are the cornerstone for the diagnosis, risk assessment, prognosis, and determination of antithrombotic and revascularization strategies. However, troponin elevation indicates the presence, not the mechanism, of myocardial injury. There are many clinical conditions other than myocardial infarction that cause troponin elevation; thus, the physician should be aware of the wide spectrum of disease states that may result in troponin elevation and have a clear understanding of the related pathophysiology to effectively make a differential diagnosis. This review focuses on causes of troponin elevation other than acute coronary syndromes.
Keywords: cardiac troponin; differential diagnosis; troponin elevation without acute coronary syndrome.