Association between high sensitivity cardiac troponin and mortality risk in the non-diabetic population: findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2023 Oct 30;22(1):296. doi: 10.1186/s12933-023-02003-2.


Objective: We investigated the association of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin (Hs-cTn) with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in non-diabetic individuals.

Methods: This study included 10,393 participants without known diabetes and cardiovascular disease from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Serum Hs-cTnI and Hs-cTnT concentrations were measured. Prediabetes was defined as fasting blood glucose between 100 and 125 mg/dL or HbA1c between 5.7 and 6.4%. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for mortality risk. Time-dependent receiver operating characteristics (tROC) curves were utilized to measure the predictive performance of the biomarkers. Net Reclassification Improvement (NRI) were calculated to estimate the improvement in risk classification for adding Hs-cTnT or Hs-cTnI to the standard models based on Framingham risk factors.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 48.1 ± 19.1 years, with 53.3% being female and 25.8% being prediabetic. After multivariable adjustment, compared to those with Hs-cTnI concentration less than the limit of detection, the HRs (95% CIs) of the participants with Hs-cTnI concentration higher than the 99th upper reference limit were 1.74 (1.35, 2.24) for all-cause mortality and 2.10 (1.36, 3.24) for cardiovascular mortality. The corresponding HRs (95% CIs) for Hs-cTnT were 2.07 (1.53, 2.81) and 2.92 (1.47, 5.80) for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. There was a significant interaction between prediabetes and Hs-cTnI on the mortality risk; a positive relationship was only observed in prediabetic individuals. No interaction was observed between prediabetes and Hs-cTnT on mortality risk. The Areas Under tROC indicated both Hs-cTnT and Hs-cTnI show better predictive performance in cardiovascular mortality than in all-cause mortality. NRI (95% CI) for adding Hs-cTnT to the standard model were 0.25 (0.21, 0.27) and 0.33 (0.26, 0.39) for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. The corresponding NRI (95% CI) for Hs-cTnI were 0.04 (0, 0.06) and 0.07 (0.01, 0.13).

Conclusions: Elevated blood levels of Hs-cTnI and Hs-cTnT are associated with increased mortality. Measurement of Hs-cTnT in non-diabetic subjects, particularly those with prediabetes, may help identify individuals at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and provide early and more intensive risk factor modification.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease risk; Mortality; Prediabetes; Preventive cardiology; Troponin.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prediabetic State* / diagnosis
  • Troponin I
  • Troponin T


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin I
  • Troponin T