Cardiac Troponin Release is Associated with Biomarkers of Inflammation and Ventricular Dilatation During Critical Illness

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Troponin release is common during critical illness. We hypothesized that there was an association between cardiac troponin T (cTnT) and biomarkers of systemic inflammation and ventricular dilatation.


In an observational prospective cohort study, we enrolled consecutive adult patients admitted for noncardiac reasons to the intensive care unit (ICU) in two tertiary care centers. We measured cTnT, C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), procalcitonin (PCT), and N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) daily in the first week, and on alternate days in the second week. Using a peak cTnT cutoff ≥15 ng/L and concomitant changes on electrocardiogram, patients were categorized as “definite myocardial infarction (MI),” “possible MI,” “cTnT rise only,” or “no cTnT rise.” Within each group, associations between CRP, IL-6, PCT, NT-proBNP, and cTnT were investigated using mixed effect models.


One hundred seventy-two patients were included in the analysis of whom 84% had a cTnT rise ≥15 ng/L. Twenty-one patients (12%) had a definite MI, 51 (30%) had a possible MI, and 73 (42%) had a cTnT rise only. At the time of peak cTnT, 71% of patients were septic and 67% were on vasopressors.


Multivariable analysis showed a significant association between cTnT and IL-6 in all patients with a cTnT rise independent of age, gender, renal function, and cardiovascular risk factors. In patients without a definite MI, cTnT levels were significantly associated with PCT and NT-proBNP values. In patients without elevated cTnT levels, there was no associated NT-proBNP rise.


In ICU patients admitted for non-cardiac reasons, serial cTnT levels were independently associated with markers of systemic inflammation and NT-proBNP.

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