High-sensitivity-cardiac troponin for accelerated diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Am J Emerg Med. 2020 Jul;38(7):1402-1407. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2019.11.035. Epub 2019 Dec 28.


Objectives: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity. Serial troponin tests have been endorsed as essential diagnostic steps to rule out/-in acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and hs-cTn assays have shown promise in enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of AMI diagnosis in the emergency department (ED).

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy studies were conducted to compare the diagnostic performance of various accelerated diagnostic algorithms of hs-cTn assays for patients with symptoms of AMI. Random-effects bivariate meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the summary sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, and area under receiver operating characteristic curve.

Results: In the systematic review consisting of 56 studies and 67,945 patients, both hs-cTnT and hs-cTnI-based 0-, 1-, 2- and 0-1 h algorithms showed a pooled sensitivity >90%. The hs-cTnI-based algorithm showed a pooled specificity >80%. The hs-cTnT-based algorithms had a specificity of 68% for the 0-h algorithm and of around 80% for the 1-, 2-, and 0-1 h algorithms. The heterogeneities of all diagnostic algorithms were mild (I2 < 50%).

Conclusion: Both hs-cTnI- and hs-cTnT-based accelerated diagnostic algorithms have high sensitivities but moderate specificities for early diagnosis of AMI. Overall, hs-cTnI-based algorithms have slightly higher specificities in early diagnosis of AMI. For patients presenting ED with typical symptoms, the use of hs-cTnT or hs-cTnI assays at the 99th percentile may help identify patients with low risk for AMI and promote early discharge from the ED.

Keywords: 0-h algorithm; Diagnostic performance; Emergency department; Non-ST elevation myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Troponin I / blood*
  • Troponin T / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin I
  • Troponin T