Comparison of troponin T versus creatine kinase-MB in suspected acute coronary syndromes

Ellen S. McErlean, Sue A. Deluca, Frederick Van Lente, Franklin Peacock IV, J. Sunil Rao, Craig A. Balog, Steven E. Nissen

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32 Scopus citations


Limitations of creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) have led to alternative biochemical markers, including troponin T (TnT), to detect myocardial necrosis. Limited data are available regarding the predictive value of this new marker in patients with chest pain of uncertain etiology. Therefore, we prospectively compared CK-MB and TnT in a broad population with suspected acute coronary syndromes, including those admitted to a short-stay chest pain unit. CK-MB, quantitative TnT levels, and a rapid bedside assay were performed at 0, 4, 8, and 16 hours. Adverse events, including infarction, recurrent ischemia, coronary surgery, need for catheterization and/or intervention, stroke, congestive heart failure, or death, were identified by chart review and by follow-up phone call at 6 months. Of 707 patients, 104 were excluded for creatinine >2 mg/dl or incomplete data, leaving a total cohort of 603 patients. Coronary Care Unit admissions were 18%, intermediate care admissions were 14%, telemetry admissions is 21%, and admissions to 24- hour short-stay area were 47%. TnT (at 0.1 ng/ml) and CK-MB were positive in a similar proportion of patients (20.4% and 19.7%, respectively); however, the patients identified by TnT and CK-MB were not identical. In-hospital adverse events occurred in 37.1% with no differences in positive predictive value for the markers (p = NS). If CK-MB and TnT were negative, the early adverse event rate was 27%. No cardiac marker was positive by 16 hours in 54.9% of patients with an adverse event. Six-month follow-up was obtained in 576 of the 603 patients (95.5%). One hundred fifty-five late adverse events occurred in 134 patients (23.3%) at an average of 3.3 ± 2.5 months after discharge. If both markers were negative, the late event rate was 20.2% and did not increase in patients with positive CK-MB or TnT >0.2 ng/ml. However, the late event rate was substantially higher (52.9%) in those with intermediate TnT levels of 0.1 to 0.2 ng/ml (p = 0.002). Thus, TnT is a suitable alternative to CK-MB in patients with suspected acute coronary syndromes. The rapid bedside assay is comparable to quantitative TnT and may enable early diagnosis and triage. A negative cardiac marker value (TnT or CK-MB) does not necessarily confer a low risk of complication in patients presenting with acute chest pain to an emergency department. (C) 2000 by Excerpta Medica, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-426
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Roche Diagnostics, Boehringer Mannheim Corporation, Indianapolis, Indiana. Manuscript received May 17, 1999; revised manuscript received and accepted September 20, 1999.


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