Assessment of the 2016 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence high-sensitivity troponin rule-out strategy

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We aimed to evaluate the limit of detection of high-sensitivity troponin (hs-cTn) and Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) score combination rule-out strategy suggested within the 2016 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Chest Pain of Recent Onset guidelines and establish the optimal TIMI score threshold for clinical use.


A pooled analysis of adult patients presenting to the emergency department with chest pain and a non-ischaemic ECG, recruited into six prospective studies, from Australia, New Zealand and the UK. We evaluated the sensitivity of TIMI score thresholds from 0 to 2 alongside hs-cTnT or hs-cTnI for the primary outcome of major adverse cardiac events within 30 days.


Data were available for 3159 patients for hs-cTnT and 4532 for hs-cTnI, of these 376 (11.9%) and 445 (9.8%) had major adverse cardiac events, respectively. Using a TIMI score of 0, the sensitivity for the primary outcome was 99.5% (95% CI 98.1% to 99.9%) alongside hs-cTnT and 98.9% (97.4% to 99.6%)%) alongside hs-cTnI, identifying 17.9% and 21.0% of patients as low risk, respectively. For a TIMI score ≤1 sensitivity was 98.9% (97.3% to 99.7%)%) alongside hs-cTnT and 98.4% (96.8% to 99.4%)%) alongside hs-cTnI, identifying 28.1% and 35.7% as low risk, respectively. For TIMI≤2, meta-sensitivity was <98% with either assay.


Our findings support the rule-out strategy suggested by NICE. The TIMI score threshold suggested for clinical use is 0. The proportion of patients identified as low risk (18%–21%) and suitable for early discharge using this threshold may be sufficient to encourage change of practice.

Trial registration numbers

ADAPT observational study/IMPACT intervention trial ACTRN12611001069943.

Trial registration numbers

ADAPT-ADP randomised controlled trial ACTRN12610000766011. EDACS-ADP randomised controlled trial ACTRN12613000745741. TRUST observational study ISRCTN no. 21109279.

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