Cardiac Troponin T in the Diagnosis of Myocardial Injury
AbstractIn the last several decades serum levels of cardiac enzymes and isoenzymes have become the final arbiters by which myocardial damage is diagnosed or excluded. Because conventionally used enzymes are neither perfectly sensitive nor specific, there is need for a new sensitive and cardiospecific marker of myocardial damage. Cardiac troponin T (TnT) is a contractile protein unique to cardiac muscle and can be differentiated by immunologic methods from its skeletalmuscle isoform. An enzyme immunoassay specific for cardiac TnT is now available in a commercial kit for routine use. The biggest advantage of this assay is its cardiospecificity. TnT measurements, however, are also highly sensitive in diagnosis of myocardial injury and accurately discern even small amounts of myocardial necrosis. TnT measurements are, therefore, particularly useful in patients with borderline CK-MB and in clinical settings in which traditional enzymes fail to diagnose myocardial damage efficiently because of lack of specificity-for example, perioperative myocardial infarction or blunt heart trauma. TnT release kinetics reveal characteristics of both soluble, cytoplasmic, and structurally bound molecules. It starts to increase a few hours after the onset of myocardial damage and remains increased for several days. TnT allows late diagnosis of myocardial infarction. The diagnostic efficiency remains at 98% until 6 d after the onset of infarct-related symptoms. TnT is also useful in monitoring the effectiveness of thrombolytic therapy in myocardial infarction patients. The ratio of peak TnT concentration on day 1 to TnT concentration at day 4 discriminates between patients with successful (>1) and failed (≤1) reperfusion. TnT measurements are very sensitive and specific for the early and late diagnosis of myocardial damage and could, therefore, provide a new criterion in laboratory diagnosis of the occurrence of myocardial damage.