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Cardiol Rev. 2004 Jan-Feb;12(1):21-5.

Cardiac troponin levels in heart failure.

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Department of Cardiology, Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a major cardiovascular disorder that is increasing in incidence, prevalence, and lethality. The prognostic significance of cardiac troponin levels among symptomatic and asymptomatic CHF has attracted recent interest. We sought to assess the significance of cardiac troponins in heart failure. These cardiac markers are associated with decreased left ventricular ejection fraction and poor prognosis in patients with CHF and are related to the severity of heart failure. The mechanism for the release of these markers seems to be from ventricular remodeling, ongoing myocyte degeneration, the presence of coronary artery disease, and reduced coronary reserve. In addition to B-type (brain) natriuretic peptide (BNP), cardiac troponin levels measured in patients admitted to the hospital could help risk-stratify patients and manage them effectively. BNP and cardiac troponins are easy to measure and can be repeated many times to follow patients, without interobserver variability. Theoretically, BNP is a marker of heart failure status and cardiac troponin is a marker of myocyte injury. The first therapeutic goal could be relief of circulatory congestion and lowering of BNP. The second goal could be attenuation of myocyte injury and lowering of cardiac troponins. Measuring and monitoring the levels of both could be highly effective means to reliably stratify the patients into low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups for cardiac events and progression of heart failure. Furthermore, large-scale trials are necessary to establish them as noninvasive monitoring markers of heart failure and effectiveness of treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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