To determine the incidence and prognostic value of increased serum cardiac troponin I and T concentrations over 12 months in chronic hemodialysis patients, we performed a retrospective chart review in 16 patients undergoing chronic renal hemodialysis randomly selected from the Regional Kidney Disease Program without prior knowledge of their cardiac status. Serum markers of myocardial injury (cardiac troponin I [cTnI], cardiac troponin T [cTnT], and creatine kinase MB [CK-MB]) were measured and clinical outcomes were assessed. At the beginning of the study, 12 of 16 (75%) patients had increased serum enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) cTnT concentrations greater than 0.20 micrograms/L, eight (50%) had increased serum CK-MB greater than 5.0 micrograms/L, and three (19%) had an increased cTnI greater than 0.8 micrograms/L. Over the 1-year study period, the cardiac event rate (n = 4 with fatal myocardial infarction) was correlated to the patients who displayed the higher elevations of cTnT, CK-MB, and cTnI. In the remaining 12 patients studied at the end of 1 year, seven (58%) had increased ELISA cTnT levels and five (42%) had increased CK-MB levels; no patients had elevated cTnI levels. Reanalysis of ELISA cTnT values with a newly formulated Enzymun cTnT assay showed no significant differences. Our data suggest that whereas substantial increases in cardiac markers tended to have a poor prognostic outcome, there was a high incidence of increased cTnT and CK-MB concentrations without evidence of myocardial injury in chronic hemodialysis patients. The lack of absolute cardiospecificity of cTnT and CK-MB may prove cTnI to be the desired serum marker for the detection of myocardial injury in patients with chronic renal disease.