The first American College of Cardiology/European Society of Cardiology task force published recommendations for a universal definition of myocardial infarction (MI) in 2000 based on the measurement of troponin (Tn). Although this rapid and highly sensitive blood test is certainly valuable in the appropriate setting, its widespread use in variety of clinical scenarios may lead to the detection of Tn elevation in absence of thrombotic acute coronary syndrome. In 2007, the joint European Society of Cardiology/American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association/World Heart Federation task force proposed a new definition for acute MI based on detection of Tn and associated clinical evidence. The goal of this article is to review the universal definition of acute MI and to differentiate type 1 MI, type 2 MI, and non–acute coronary syndrome Tn elevations. The prognosis and a clinical approach to this differential diagnosis will be developed. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.