Kinetics of troponin I in patients with myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery

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Myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery, as measured by troponin elevation, is strongly associated with mortality. However, it is unknown in which patients prognosis can be improved. The presence of kinetic changes of troponin may be associated with a worse prognosis and warrant more aggressive management. Therefore, we aimed to study the kinetics of troponin in patients with postoperative myocardial injury, and to determine the added predictive value of kinetic changes of troponin on mortality.


This cohort study included patients with myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery. Troponin I (TnI) was measured on the first three postoperative days. The primary outcome was all-cause 1-year mortality. We studied both absolute and relative TnI changes, and determined the delta TnI that was associated with mortality to distinguish a rise-and-fall TnI pattern from a stable TnI pattern. Next, we determined the added predictive value of a rise-and-fall TnI pattern for mortality.


In total, 634 patients were included. The risk ratio (RR) for mortality increased significantly with an absolute delta TnI of ≥200 ng/L (RR 1.5, 99.4% CI 1.0-2.2, p=0.003). Using this delta TnI to define a rise-and-fall pattern, 459 patients (72%) had a stable TnI pattern and 175 patients (28%) had a rise-and-fall pattern. When added to a model including the highest TnI value and variables from the revised cardiac risk index (RCRI), the TnI pattern did not increase the predictive value for mortality.


A postoperative TnI rise-and-fall pattern was associated with 1-year mortality, but had no added value in addition to the highest TnI level to predict 1-year mortality. Therefore, postoperative TnI kinetics are not useful for further mortality risk stratification in patients with myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery.

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