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Clin Chem. 2012 Jan;58(1):246-56. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2011.172940. Epub 2011 Nov 4.

Markers of plaque instability in the early diagnosis and risk stratification of acute myocardial infarction.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



Plaque erosion and plaque rupture occur early in the pathophysiology of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We hypothesized that markers of plaque instability might be useful in the early diagnosis and risk stratification of AMI.


In this multicenter study, we examined 4 markers of plaque instability, myeloperoxidase (MPO), myeloid-related protein 8/14 (MRP-8/14), pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A), and C-reactive protein (CRP) in 398 consecutive patients presenting to the emergency department with acute chest pain and compared them to normal and high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (cTnT and hs-cTnT). The final diagnosis was adjudicated by 2 independent cardiologists. Primary prognostic end point was death during a median follow-up of 27 months.


The adjudicated final diagnosis was AMI in 76 patients (19%). At emergency department presentation, concentrations of all 4 biomarkers of plaque instability were significantly higher in patients with AMI than in patients with other diagnoses. However, their diagnostic accuracy as quantified by the area under the ROC curve (AUC) was low (MPO 0.63, MRP-8/14 0.65, PAPP-A 0.62, CRP 0.59) and inferior to both normal and high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (cTnT 0.88, hs-cTnT 0.96; P<0.001 for all comparisons). Thirty-nine patients (10%) died during follow-up. Concentrations of MPO, MRP-8/14, and CRP were higher in nonsurvivors than in survivors and predicted all-cause mortality with moderate accuracy.


Biomarkers of plaque instability do not seem helpful in the early diagnosis of AMI but may provide some incremental value in the risk stratification of patients with acute chest pain.

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