A Test in Context: Interpretation of High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin Assays in Different Clinical Settings

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Mar 16;77(10):1357-1367. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.01.011.


High-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays have the ability to detect minute troponin concentrations and resolve minor changes in biomarker concentrations. Clinically, this allows for the ability to rapidly identify or exclude acute myocardial injury in the setting of acute chest discomfort-thus providing more rapid evaluation for acute myocardial infarction-but the improvements in troponin assays also create avenues for other applications where troponin release from the cardiomyocyte might confer prognostic information. These situations include cardiovascular risk assessment across a wide range of clinical circumstances, including apparently-well individuals, those at risk for heart disease, and those with prevalent cardiovascular disorders. The optimal hs-cTn threshold for each circumstance varies by the assay used and by the population assessed. This review will provide context for how hs-cTn assays might be interpreted depending on the application sought, reviewing results from studies leveraging hs-cTn for applications beyond "acute myocardial infarction diagnostic evaluation."

Keywords: biomarkers; high-sensitivity cardiac troponin; risk stratification.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Heart Diseases / blood*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / blood
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Troponin / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin