Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:38 am
Troponin test is a cardiac biomarker, which is a protein found in the blood. Troponin is usually found in the blood of people who have heart attacks. This test is also used to monitor levels during and after heart surgery.
Troponin is a protein that can be found in human blood and heart muscle.
What is troponin?
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Troponin is a protein found in the heart. It is used as a marker for muscle injury.
Troponins are proteins found in the cardiac and skeletal muscles. When the heart is damaged, it releases troponin into the bloodstream. Doctors measure your troponin levels to detect whether you’re experiencing a heart attack. This test can also help doctors find the best treatment sooner.
Troponin Test is Used During and After Heart Surgery
Troponin is more sensitive. Measuring cardiac troponin levels in the blood allows doctors to diagnose a heart attack or other heart-related conditions more effectively, and provide immediate treatment.
Troponin proteins are split into three sub-units:
- troponin C (TnC)
- troponin T (TnT)
- troponin I (TnI)
What are troponin normal ranges?
In healthy people, troponin levels are low enough to be undetectable. If you’ve experienced chest pain, but troponin levels are still low 12 hours after the chest pain started, the possibility of a heart attack is unlikely.
High levels of troponin are an immediate red flag. The higher the number, the more troponin, specifically troponin T and I, has been released into the bloodstream and the higher the likelihood of heart damage. Troponin levels can elevate within 3-4 hours after the heart has been damaged and can remain high for up to 14 days.
Troponin levels are measured in nanograms per millilitre. Normal levels fall below the 99th percentile in the blood test. If troponin results are above this level, it may show heart damage or heart attack. However, recent research suggests that women can experience heart damage from a heart attack at levels below the current “normal” cut off. This means that in the future, what’s considered normal may differ between men and women.
What high troponin level causes?
Though a rise in troponin levels shows a heart attack, there are several other reasons levels could elevate.
Other factors that could contribute to high troponin levels include:
- intense exercise
- extensive infection, like sepsis
- myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle
- pericarditis, an inflammation around the sac of the heart
- endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves
- cardiomyopathy, a weakened heart
- heart failure
- kidney disease
- pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in your lungs
- hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid
- intestinal bleeding
Why the troponin test advised?
A troponin test is a measure of troponin T or I level in the blood and is used to detect small degrees of damage to heart muscle cells (myocyte). Most cardiologists and emergency physicians interpret this as a sign of a heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Troponin T and troponin I, are proteins found only in heart muscle tissue. Although there are some medical conditions in which troponin is slightly raised without damage to the heart muscle (especially in patients on dialysis for chronic renal failure), troponins are normally not detectable in the bloodstream.
How does a troponin test perform?
A troponin test is a blood test that requires a few millilitres of blood from a vein. The timing of the test is also important; to be reliable, it needs to be taken at least 6 to 12 hours after the onset of chest pain or other symptoms.
What are the symptoms of checking the troponin test?
Your doctor will recommend this test if you’re experiencing chest pain or related heart attack symptoms, including:
- pain in the neck, back, arm, or jaw
- intense sweating
- shortness of breath
After taking a blood sample, your doctor will assess your troponin levels to diagnose a heart attack. They’ll also look for any changes on an electrocardiogram (ECG), an electrical tracing of your heart. These tests may be repeated several times over a 24-hour period to look for changes. Using the troponin test too soon can produce a false-negative. Increased levels of troponin can take hours before being detectable.
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If your troponin levels are low or normal after experiencing chest pain, you may not have experienced a heart attack. If your levels are detectable or high, the likelihood of heart damage or heart attack is high.
Besides measuring your troponin levels and monitoring your ECG, your doctor may want to perform other tests to examine your health, including:
- additional blood tests to measure cardiac enzyme levels
- blood tests for other medical conditions
- an echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart
- a chest X-ray
- a computed tomography (CT) scan
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Originally published in MedicineNet
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