Background: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have high prevalence of elevated serum troponin levels, which makes diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) challenging.
Purpose: To evaluate the utility of troponin in ACS diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis among patients with CKD.
Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials through May 2014.
Study selection: Studies examining elevated versus normal troponin levels in terms of their diagnostic performance in detection of ACS, effect on ACS management strategies, and prognostic value for mortality or cardiovascular events after ACS among patients with CKD.
Data extraction: Paired reviewers selected articles for inclusion, extracted data, and graded strength of evidence (SOE).
Data synthesis: Twenty-three studies met inclusion criteria. The sensitivity of troponin T for ACS diagnosis ranged from 71% to 100%, and specificity ranged from 31% to 86% (6 studies; low SOE). The sensitivity and specificity of troponin I ranged from 43% to 94% and from 48% to 100%, respectively (8 studies; low SOE). No studies examined how troponin levels affect management strategies. Twelve studies analyzed prognostic value. Elevated levels of troponin I or troponin T were associated with higher risk for short-term death and cardiac events (low SOE). A similar trend was observed for long-term mortality with troponin I (low SOE), but less evidence was found for long-term cardiac events for troponin I and long-term outcomes for troponin T (insufficient SOE). Patients with advanced CKD tended to have worse prognoses with elevated troponin I levels than those without them (moderate SOE).
Limitation: Studies were heterogeneous in design and in ACS definitions and adjudication methods.
Conclusion: In patients with CKD and suspected ACS, troponin levels can aid in identifying those with a poor prognosis, but the diagnostic utility is limited by varying estimates of sensitivity and specificity.
Primary funding source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.