Study objective: Sepsis is the leading cause of death in the noncardiologic ICU. Maldistributed nutritive blood flow and altered convective and diffusive oxygen transport during sepsis can lead to organ dysfunction and multiple organ failure. One of the causes of myocardial dysfunction is thought to be myocardial ischemia in sepsis; however, conventional biochemical parameters to detect myocardial ischemia lack sensitivity and specificity. Serum cardiac troponin T (S-TnT) was reported to have higher sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing minor myocardial injury. The aim of this study was to investigate if and how often S-TnT is pathologically elevated in patients with sepsis and to evaluate whether S-TnT might be a prognostic marker in early sepsis.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: Surgical ICU.
Patients: Twenty-six patients with sepsis were included in this study within 24 h of the onset of sepsis. The patients were allocated a priori to a high S-TnT group (S-TnT > or = 0.2 microg/L) and a low S-TnT group (S-TnT<0.2 microg/L).
Measurement: Blood samples for the determination of S-TnT and conventional myocardial ischemia markers as well as for adhesion molecules were drawn. Hemodynamic measurements were performed every 4 h during the first 24 h and then once per day over 7 days. S-TnT was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent sandwich assay.
Results: Eighteen patients had pathologically high S-TnT values. High S-TnT values were associated with an increased mortality rate (15/18 in the high S-TnT group vs 3/8 in the low S-TnT group; p=0.02). Significant differences between the two groups were found in the norepinephrine dosages at maximum values of S-TnT. Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 was significantly elevated in the high S-TnT group.
Conclusions: As high S-TnT values were associated with an increased mortality rate, it seems reasonable to further evaluate S-TnT as a prognostic marker of myocardial ischemia in patients with sepsis under different therapeutic regimens.