Objective: Incorporation of comorbidity burden to inform diabetes management in older adults remains challenging. High-sensitivity cardiac troponins are objective, quantifiable biomarkers that may improve risk monitoring in older adults. We assessed the associations of elevations in high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I (hs-cTnI) and T (hs-cTnT) with comorbidities and improvements in mortality risk stratification.
Research design and methods: We used logistic regression to examine associations of comorbidities with elevations in either troponin (≥85th percentile) among 1,835 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study with diabetes (ages 67-89 years, 43% male, 31% black) at visit 5 (2011-2013). We used Cox models to compare associations of high cardiac troponins with mortality across comorbidity levels.
Results: Elevations in either troponin (≥9.4 ng/L for hs-cTnI, ≥25 ng/L for hs-cTnT) were associated with prevalent coronary heart disease, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, pulmonary disease, hypoglycemia, hypertension, dementia, and frailty. Over a median follow-up of 6.2 years (418 deaths), both high hs-cTnI and high hs-cTnT further stratified mortality risk beyond comorbidity levels; those with a high hs-cTnI or hs-cTnT and high comorbidity were at highest mortality risk. Even among those with low comorbidity, a high hs-cTnI (hazard ratio 3.0 [95% CI 1.7, 5.4]) or hs-cTnT (hazard ratio 3.3 [95% CI 1.8, 6.2]) was associated with elevated mortality.
Conclusions: Many comorbidities were reflected by both hs-cTnI and hs-cTnT; elevations in either of the troponins were associated with higher mortality risk beyond comorbidity burden. High-sensitivity cardiac troponins may identify older adults at high mortality risk and be useful in guiding clinical care of older adults with diabetes.
© 2020 by the American Diabetes Association.