Walter E. Kelley, James L. Januzzi and Robert H. Christenson
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Background: Although cardiac troponin (cTn) is a cornerstone marker in the assessment and management of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and heart failure (HF), cTn is not diagnostically specific for any single myocardial disease process. This narrative review discusses increases in cTn that result from acute and chronic diseases, iatrogenic causes, and myocardial injury other than ACS and HF.
Content: Increased cTn concentrations have been reported in cardiac, vascular, and respiratory disease and in association with infectious processes. In cases involving acute aortic dissection, cerebrovascular accident, treatment in an intensive care unit, and upper gastrointestinal bleeding, increased cTn predicts a longer time to diagnosis and treatment, increased length of hospital stay, and increased mortality. cTn increases are diagnostically and prognostically useful in patients with cardiac inflammatory diseases and in patients with respiratory disease; in respiratory disease cTn can help identify patients who would benefit from aggressive management. In chronic renal failure patients the diagnostic sensitivity of cTn for ACS is decreased, but cTn is prognostic for the development of cardiovascular disease. cTn also provides useful information when increases are attributable to various iatrogenic causes and blunt chest trauma.
Summary: Information on the diagnostic and prognostic uses of cTn in conditions other than ACS and heart failure is accumulating. Although increased cTn in settings other than ACS or heart failure is frequently considered a clinical confounder, the astute physician must be able to interpret cTn as a dynamic marker of myocardial damage, using clinical acumen to determine the source and significance of any reported cTn increase.
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