Lab Med Online.  2014 Jan;4(1):55-62.

Analytical Characteristics of High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin Assays

Affiliations
  • 1Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
  • 3St. George's Hospital, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Cardiac troponins I (cTnI) and T (cTnT) have received international endorsement as the standard biomarkers for detection of myocardial injury, for risk stratification in patients suspected of acute coronary syndrome, and for the diagnosis of myocardial infarction. An evidence-based clinical database is growing rapidly for high-sensitivity (hs) troponin assays. Thus, clarifications of the analytical principles for the immunoassays used in clinical practice are important. CONTENT: The purpose
of this mini-review is (a) to provide a background
for the biochemistry of cTnT and cTnI and (b) to address the following analytical questions for both hs cTnI and cTnT assays: (i) How does an assay become designated hs? (ii) How does one realistically define healthy (normal) reference populations for determining the 99th percentile? (iii) What is the usual biological variation of these analytes? (iv) What assay imprecision characteristics are acceptable? (v) Will standardization of cardiac troponin assays be attainable? SUMMARY: This review raises important points regarding cTnI and cTnT assays and their reference limits and specifically addresses hs assays used to measure low concentrations (nanograms per liter or picograms per milliliter). Recommendations are made to help clarify the nomenclature. The review also identifies further challenges for the evolving science of cardiac troponin measurement. It is hoped that with the introduction of these concepts, both laboratorians and clinicians can develop a more unified view of how these assays are used worldwide in clinical practice.

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