Aims: High-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays provide higher diagnostic accuracy for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) when compared with conventional assays, but may result in increased use of unnecessary coronary angiographies due to their increased detection of cardiomyocyte injury in conditions other than AMI.
Methods and results: We evaluated the impact of the clinical introduction of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) on the use of coronary angiography, stress testing, and time to discharge in 2544 patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of AMI to the emergency department (ED) within a multicentre study either before (1455 patients) or after (1089 patients) hs-cTnT introduction. Acute myocardial infarction was more often the clinical discharge diagnosis after hs-cTnT introduction (10 vs. 14%, P < 0.001), while unstable angina less often the clinical discharge diagnosis (14 vs. 9%, P = 0.007). The rate of coronary angiography was similar before and after the introduction of hs-cTnT (23 vs. 23%, P = 0.092), as was the percentage of coronary angiographies showing no stenosis (11 vs. 7%, P = 0.361). In contrast, the use of stress testing was substantially reduced from 29 to 19% (P < 0.001). In outpatients, median time to discharge from the ED decreased by 79 min (P < 0.001). Mean total costs decreased by 20% in outpatients after the introduction of hs-cTnT (P = 0.002).
Conclusion: The clinical introduction of hs-cTn does not lead to an increased or inappropriate use of coronary angiography. Introduction of hs-cTn is associated with an improved rule-out process and thereby reduces the need for stress testing and time to discharge.
Clinical trial registration information: www.clinicaltrials.gov. Identifier, NCT00470587.
Keywords: Angiography; Coronary artery disease; High-sensitivity cardiac troponin; Myocardial infarction; Stress testing.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.