Troponin T release is associated with silent myocardial ischaemia in black men: The SABPA Study

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High sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) is a validated marker of myocardial damage and may reflect the degree of silent myocardial ischaemia (SMI) and ventricular strain. Our aim was to compare hs-cTnT levels in black and white South Africans taking SMI into consideration. We further explored the capability of hs-cTnT to predict the presence of compensatory systolic hypertension in this South African cohort.


A bi-ethnic sex cohort (n = 404) with similar socioeconomic status (198 black participants and 206 white participants, aged 20–65 years) participated in this target population study where 24 h ambulatory blood pressure, electrocardiogram and overnight fasting cardiometabolic variables were measured.


Hypertension, higher glycated haemoglobin levels and more frequent and longer SMI events were observed more often in the black participants. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed positive associations between SMI events [Adj. R2 = 0.19; β 0.35 (0.08–0.62); p < 0.01], SMI event maximum duration [Adj. R2 = 0.17, β 0.43 (0.16–0.70), p < 0.01], SMI total duration [Adj. R2 = 0.12; β 0.37 (0.10; 0.65), p = 0.05] and hs-cTnT in black males only.] A lower hs-cTnT cut-point ≥4.2 pg/ml for 24 h systolic hypertension was predicted in the black participants compared with ≥5.6 pg/ml in the white participants (area under the curve 0.66–67 (95% CI: 0.57–0.75), p < 0.001) with a respective sensitivity/specificity of 64/68% and 61/71%.


hs-cTnT may be a potential marker of SMI in the prediction of systolic blood pressure increases, as well as clusters of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Ethnic- and possibly sex-specific references values for hs-cTnT should be considered for risk stratification.

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