Thursday, September 08, 2016

In ordering troponins, consider the pretest probability

From a recent paper:


In clinical practice, we progressively rely on biomarkers, without estimating the pretest probability. There is not enough support for the use of cardiac troponin (cTn) I in the management of noncardiac patients. We studied the rate at which this test was ordered, the prevalence of detection of a positive result in noncardiac patients, and the impact of this incidental finding on clinical management.


Patients admitted from December 2011 to 2013 to our community hospital with diagnosis of noncardiac disease who had positive cTn were included. Data collected included final diagnosis, patient disposition, cardiac monitoring, cardiology consult, and cardiac biomarker testing.


Cardiac troponin I was ordered for 1700 patients in our emergency department. Seven hundred fifty patients had a positive cTn. Of the 750 patients, 412 had a positive cTn without any clinical suspicion of an acute coronary syndrome. An incidental finding of a positive cTn leads to ordering of cTn on average 4 times during admission, cardiac monitoring of 379 (91.99%) patients for at least 1 day, and a cardiac consultation for 268 (63.65%) of these patients. None of these patients was candidates for an invasive cardiac intervention.

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