Cardiac troponins


Address correspondence and reprint requests to:
Dr. Scott M. Wells, DVM, Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas, 6405 Tryon Road, Cary, NC 27518.


Objective: To review the use of cardiac troponins as biomarkers for myocardial injury in human and veterinary medicine.

Data sources: Data sources included scientific reviews and original research publications.

Human data synthesis: Cardiac troponins have been extensively studied in human medicine. Finding an elevated cardiac troponin level carries important diagnostic and prognostic information for humans with cardiovascular disease. Troponin assays are used primarily to diagnose acute myocardial infarction in patients with ischemic symptoms such as chest pain. However, elevated blood levels may be found with any cause of myocardial injury.

Veterinary data synthesis: Several studies have shown that cardiac troponins are sensitive and specific for myocardial damage in veterinary patients and may have utility in diagnosis and prognosis for certain disease states. Human assays may be used in most animals due to significant homology in the troponin proteins between species.

Conclusions: Cardiac troponins are sensitive and specific markers of myocardial injury although they do not give any information regarding the mechanism of injury. They have redefined how acute myocardial infarction is diagnosed in humans. Their use in the clinical management of veterinary patients is limited at this time. Further prospective studies are warranted.