Purpose of review: A range of cardiovascular biomarkers have come into the routine clinical use for the diagnosis and assessment of patients with symptomatic coronary disease. The review will consider the current evidence base for the role of measurement of a number of these biomarkers in asymptomatic patients.
Recent findings: Measurement of the cardiac troponins, cardiac troponin T and cardiac troponin I, using sensitive methods, defines a true reference population, and has demonstrated risk of cardiovascular events with small elevations above the reference interval and a gradient of risk across the reference range even in normal healthy individuals. Similar results can be seen for the measurement of the ventricular stress marker B-type natriuretic peptide. In an asymptomatic population, there is occult cardiovascular disease which can be detected by cardiovascular biomarker measurement. Novel markers of myocardial inflammation and fibrosis, such as growth differentiation factor 15, are also powerful predictors of mortality. Measurement of these cardiovascular biomarkers provides additional risk prediction when added to risk prediction models based on the conventional risk factors.
Summary: The measurement of cardiovascular biomarkers has the potential to provide additional risk stratification beyond conventional risk factors. The challenge is to translate biomarker measurements to treatment strategies which will reduce long-term cardiovascular risk.