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Keywords:

  • Biomarker;
  • Cattle;
  • Congenital heart disease;
  • Echocardiography;
  • Vertebral heart score

Background

The association between plasma cardiac troponin I (cTnI) and the magnitude of cardiac enlargement in calves with congenital heart disease (CHD) are not well defined.

Objective

To investigate the relationship between plasma cTnI concentrations and cardiac size in healthy calves and calves with CHD.

Animals

A total of 19 healthy calves (control) and 12 Holstein calves with CHD (patent ductus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect, tetralogy of Fallot or double outlet right ventricle).

Methods

Case control study. All animals underwent a comprehensive transthoracic echocardiographic study to document cardiac health or presence of CHD. The vertebral heart score (VHS) was determined in each animal using right lateral survey radiographic images. Blood samples were collected via jugular venipuncture and plasma cTnI concentration and creatine kinase (CK) activity were determined by a 3rd generation immunoassay and an automatic biochemical analyzer, respectively. Groups were compared using Mann-Whitney U-test and receiver-operating characteristics (ROC) curve analysis.

Results

Calves with CHD had significantly larger VHS values and higher plasma cTnI concentrations (< .001) compared to control. Creatine kinase activity was not different between the control and CHD groups of calves. Diagnostic cutoffs of VHS and plasma cTnI for discrimination of groups were 8.9 vertebrae and 0.035 ng/mL, respectively. The cTnI concentration in plasma was significantly correlated with VHS (r 2=0.512, < .001).

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance

Our results suggest that determination of plasma cTnI concentrations in calves with clinical signs compatible with CHD might prove useful as a guide to quantify cardiac remodeling associated with increased cardiac size.