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Global Adoption of High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponins and the Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction

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Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Chemistry
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jan 2019


BACKGROUND: The universal definition of myocardial infarction (UDMI)5 standardizes the approach to the diagnosis and management of myocardial infarction. High-sensitivity cardiac troponin testing is recommended because these assays have improved precision at low concentrations, but concerns over specificity may have limited their implementation.

METHODS: We undertook a global survey of 1902 medical centers in 23 countries evenly distributed across 5 continents to assess adoption of key recommendations from the UDMI. Respondents involved in the diagnosis and management of patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome completed a structured telephone questionnaire detailing the primary biomarker, diagnostic thresholds, and clinical pathways used to identify myocardial infarction.

RESULTS: Cardiac troponin was the primary diagnostic biomarker at 96% of surveyed sites. Only 41% of centers had adopted high-sensitivity assays, with wide variation from 7% in North America to 60% in Europe. Sites using high-sensitivity troponin more frequently used serial sampling pathways (91% vs 78%) and the 99th percentile diagnostic threshold (74% vs 66%) than sites using previous-generation assays. Furthermore, high-sensitivity institutions more often used earlier serial sampling (≤3 h) and accelerated diagnostic pathways. Fewer than 1 in 5 high-sensitivity sites had adopted sex-specific thresholds (18%).

CONCLUSIONS: There has been global progress toward the recommendations of the UDMI, particularly in the use of the 99th percentile diagnostic threshold and serial sampling. However, high-sensitivity assays are still used by some sites, and sex-specific thresholds by even fewer. Additional efforts are required to improve risk stratification and diagnosis of patients with myocardial infarction.

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