Sex differences in cardiac troponin trajectories over the life course

Marie de Bakker, Atul Anand, Martin J. Shipley, Takeshi Fujisawa, Anoop SV Shah, Isabella Kardys, Eric Boersma, Eric John Brunner, Nicholas L Mills, Dorien Kimenai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Cardiac troponin concentrations are lower in women than men. We examined whether age- and risk factor-related changes in cardiac troponin over the life course differ by sex and if the trajectory of cardiac troponin was informative in respect of cardiovascular outcomes in women and men in the general population.

METHODS: In the Whitehall II cohort, high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I concentrations were measured on 3 occasions over a 15-year period. Using linear mixed-effects models, the sex-specific trajectories of cardiac troponin were evaluated, and the relationship with conventional cardiovascular risk factors determined. Using multistate joint models, the association between sex-specific trajectories of cardiac troponin and a composite outcome of nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or cardiovascular death was evaluated.

RESULTS: In 2142 women and 5151 men (mean, 58±7 and 57±7 years of age, respectively), there were 177 (8.3%) and 520 (10.1%) outcome events, respectively, during a median follow-up of 20.9 (25th to 75th percentile, 15.8-21.3) years. Cardiac troponin concentrations were persistently lower in women than in men (median baseline concentration: 2.4 [25th to 75th percentile, 1.7-3.6] ng/L versus 3.7 [25th to 75th percentile, 2.6-5.8] ng/L, respectively, P<0.001), with women exhibiting a relatively larger increase with advancing age as compared with men ( P interaction <0.001). Apart from age, a significant and divergent interaction with sex was found for the association between cardiac troponin and body mass index (BMI) ( P interaction =0.008) and diabetes ( P interaction =0.003). During follow-up, cardiac troponin concentrations were associated to the outcome in both women and men (adjusted hazard ratio per 2-fold difference [95% CI, 1.34 (1.17-1.52) and 1.30 (1.21-1.40), respectively], P interaction =0.752). The slope of cardiac troponin was significantly associated with the outcome in women, but not in men (adjusted hazard ratio [95% CI, 2.70 (1.01-7.33) and 1.31 (0.62-2.75), respectively], P interaction =0.250).

CONCLUSIONS: Trajectories of cardiac troponin differ between women and men in the general population, with differing associations to conventional risk factors and cardiovascular outcomes. Our findings highlight the importance of a sex-specific approach when serial cardiac troponin testing is applied for cardiovascular risk prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1798-1808
Issue number24
Early online date28 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • cardiac troponin
  • sex
  • age
  • general population
  • Cardiovascular risk prediction


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