According to recently published expert guidelines, cardiac troponins are the only accepted biomarkers to define acute myocardial infarction. New high sensitivity cardiac troponin assays provide exciting opportunities for early rule-out and rule-in strategies and for identifying high-risk patients early in their presentation to guide early treatment and intervention. This review briefly discusses the history of troponin testing, before going on to cover clinical uses of the new highly sensitive assays in the early assessment of acute myocardial infection. Common clinical pitfalls with the use of these assays are discussed, as is the use of highly sensitive troponins more widely as prognostic markers. Likely future developments in this area are discussed.