Misleading Elevation of Troponin T caused by Polymyositis

Int J Biomed Sci. 2013 Jun;9(2):107-11.


Background: Elevations of cardiac enzymes are commonly used to indicate myocardial ischemia, but they can be elevated due to other conditions. Different forms of Troponin (cTnT, sTnT, cTnI), can cause cross-reactivity in the Troponin T assay, leading to false positives. This report describes a patient with polymyositis who had elevated Troponin T, but no cardiac abnormalities. The purpose is to show that Troponin T, which is believed to be solely from cardiac muscle breakdown, can be seen in inflammatory muscle disease, so Troponin I should be used instead.

Description: This is a case report of a 70-year-old woman with a history of diabetes, hypertension, gout and polymyositis, who presented with one-day history of lightheadedness and abdominal pain. To rule out myocardial ischemia, cardiac enzyme testing was ordered which showed elevated CK, CK-MB, and Troponin T. A full cardiac workup was performed which showed no signs of ischemia. Troponin I was <0.05 ng/mL, (normal).

Discussion: In inflammatory myositis, there are elevations in many cardiac markers due to non-cardiac causes, which could be related to muscle regeneration and gene expression. This is not seen certain isoforms of Troponin I, specifically cardiac Troponin I.

Conclusion: In patients with history of diabetes and other comorbidities, silent myocardial ischemias should be ruled out. Non-cardiac elevations in Troponin T can be seen in patients with inflammatory, so Troponin I should be ordered to get an accurate interpretation. Patients with inflammatory myopathies can have elevations in CK, CK-MB, and Troponin T, but not Troponin I.

Keywords: Polymyositis; Troponin I; Troponin T; false positive Troponin T.