JUN 10, 2016 9:29 AM PDT

Cardiac Troponin T Assay Improves Heart Disease Diagnoses

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Cardiac troponin T is a protein biomarker detectable with a blood test, and it is the preferred biomarker for determining cardiovascular risk. In a new study published in JAMA Cardiology, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health introduce and test a high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) assay for increasing diagnostic accuracy.

Image credit: www.emdocs.net 
Whether it’s coronary heart disease, heart failure, or even all-cause mortality, elevated hs-cTnT levels are all present. However, researchers have yet to completely understand how these levels fluctuate over time. The hs-cTnT assay in this study allows even the lowest levels of cardiac troponin T to be detected, so scientists can achieve a fuller vision of how this biomarker truly characterizes different states of cardiovascular disease.
The novel assay, an altered version of a fourth-generation cTnT assay, was used in the study with 8,838 participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. All participants, 59 percent female and 21 percent black, were initially free of both coronary heart disease and heart failure. The average age of participants was 56 years.
The researchers measured hs-cTnT twice, six years apart. At the second measurement event, they calculated 1,157 cases of coronary heart disease, 965 heart failure evens, and 1,813 deaths.
Of the nearly 4,000 study participants who either had coronary heart disease, heart failure, or died, their hs-cTnT levels were significantly increased: from less than 0.0005 ng/ml at the first measurement time to 0.014 ng/ml at the 6-year follow-up. On the other hand, for people who appeared free of cardiovascular disease after the follow-up, their lower risk of dangerous cardiovascular outcomes was accompanied by decreasing levels of hs-cTnT. In fact, the reductions were greater than 50 percent from the baseline value of 0.0005 ng/ml.
With clear evidence for the efficacy of a new assay for measuring the cardiac troponin T biomarker for cardiovascular disease, scientists are hopeful that doctors will soon be able to use applications of this assay to make more accurate and quick diagnoses. For heart disease, which remains the global leading cause of death at 17.3 million deaths per year, enhancing diagnoses could save many lives.

Sources: The JAMA Network Journals, Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, the American Heart Association
About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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