Context: Introduction of highly sensitive troponin assays into clinical practice has substantially improved the evaluation of patients with chest pain.
Objective: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of a highly sensitive troponin I (hsTnI) assay compared with a contemporary troponin I (cTnI) assay and their serial changes in the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
Design, setting, and patients: A total of 1818 patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome were consecutively enrolled at the chest pain units of the University Heart Center Hamburg, the University Medical Center Mainz, and the Federal Armed Forces Hospital Koblenz, all in Germany, from 2007 to 2008. Twelve biomarkers including hsTnI (level of detection, 3.4 pg/mL) and cTnI (level of detection, 10 pg/mL) were measured on admission and after 3 and 6 hours.
Main outcome measures: Diagnostic performance for AMI of baseline and serial changes in hsTnI and cTnI results at 3 hours after admission to the emergency department.
Results: Of the 1818 patients, 413 (22.7%) were diagnosed as having AMI. For discrimination of AMI, the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.96 (95% CI, 0.95-0.97) for hsTnI on admission and 0.92 (95% CI, 0.90-0.94) for cTnI on admission. Both were superior to the other evaluated diagnostic biomarkers. The use of hsTnI at admission (with the diagnostic cutoff value at the 99th percentile of 30 pg/mL) had a sensitivity of 82.3% and a negative predictive value (for ruling out AMI) of 94.7%. The use of cTnI (with the diagnostic cutoff value at the 99th percentile of 32 pg/mL) at admission had a sensitivity of 79.4% and a negative predictive value of 94.0%. Using levels obtained at 3 hours after admission, the sensitivity was 98.2% and the negative predictive value was 99.4% for both hsTnI and cTnI assays. Combining the 99th percentile cutoff at admission with the serial change in troponin concentration within 3 hours, the positive predictive value (for ruling in AMI) for hsTnI increased from 75.1% at admission to 95.8% after 3 hours, and for cTnI increased from 80.9% at admission to 96.1% after 3 hours.
Conclusions: Among patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome, hsTnI or cTnI determination 3 hours after admission may facilitate early rule-out of AMI. A serial change in hsTnI or cTnI levels from admission (using the 99th percentile diagnostic cutoff value) to 3 hours after admission may facilitate an early diagnosis of AMI.