Undetectable high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T level in the emergency department and risk of myocardial infarction

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Jun 17;63(23):2569-2578. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.03.017. Epub 2014 Mar 30.


Objectives: This study sought to evaluate if an undetectable (<5 ng/l) high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) level and an electrocardiogram (ECG) without signs of ischemia can rule out myocardial infarction (MI) in the emergency department (ED).

Background: Chest pain is a common symptom often associated with benign conditions, but may be a sign of MI. Because there is no rapid way to rule out MI, many patients are admitted to the hospital.

Methods: All patients who sought medical attention for chest pain and had at least 1 hs-cTnT analyzed during 2 years at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, were included. We calculated the negative predictive values of an undetectable hs-cTnT and ECG without ischemia for MI and death within 30 days.

Results: We included 14,636 patients, of whom 8,907 (61%) had an initial hs-cTnT of <5 ng/l; 21% had 5 to 14 ng/l, and 18% had >14 ng/l. During 30-day follow-up, 39 (0.44%) patients with undetectable hs-cTnT had a MI, of whom 15 (0.17%) had no ischemic ECG changes. The negative predictive value for MI within 30 days in patients with undetectable hs-cTnT and no ischemic ECG changes was 99.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 99.7 to 99.9). The negative predictive value for death was 100% (95% CI: 99.9 to 100).

Conclusions: All patients with chest pain who have an initial hs-cTnT level of <5 ng/l and no signs of ischemia on an ECG have a minimal risk of MI or death within 30 days, and can be safely discharged directly from the ED.

Keywords: chest pain; emergency department; high-sensitivity troponin; myocardial infarction.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chest Pain / blood
  • Chest Pain / diagnosis*
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospital Mortality / trends
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Troponin T / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin T