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The objectives of this study were: (1) to evaluate the specificity of cardiac troponin I and creatine kinase-MB isoenzyme in ambulatory asymptomatic chronic renal failure patients on long-term hemodialysis, and (2) to evaluate the effect of hemodialysis on the serum levels of cardiac troponin I and creatine kinase-MB isoenzyme.One hundred and forty-four consecutive ambulatory asymptomatic chronic renal failure patients on hemodialysis for a minimum of 1 year were evaluated clinically. Serum cardiac troponin I and creatine kinase-MB isoenzyme levels were measured with specific monoclonal antibodies before and after dialysis using ACCESS Troponin I and ACCESS CK-MB assays.The specificity of serum cardiac troponin I was 83% with a cutoff level of 0.03 ng/ml, which is an expected level for healthy population, but it rose to 100% with a cutoff level of 0.15 ng/ml, which is a reference level for patients with acute myocardial infarction. Twenty-four (17%) patients had borderline elevation in cardiac troponin I (>0.03 to <0.15 ng/ml). A history of angina pectoris was more common in the borderline-elevated cardiac troponin I subgroup. In 28% of the patients, serum creatine kinase-MB isoenzyme levels were increased with a specificity of 72% at a cutoff level of 4 ng/ml, which is the upper limit of normal, but the specificity rose to 98% by increasing the cutoff level value to 10 ng/ml. There were no statistically significant differences in serum levels of cardiac troponin I and creatine kinase-MB isoenzyme before and after dialysis.Cardiac troponin I is highly specific in ambulatory asymptomatic chronic renal failure patients on long-term hemodialysis; borderline elevations in cardiac troponin I may represent microinjury to the myocardium. A serum level of creatine kinase-MB isoenzyme >2.5 times of the normal upper limit may be highly specific in this patient population. Hemodialysis per se does not significantly change the serum levels of cardiac troponin I and creatine kinase-MB isoenzyme.