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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Jul 4;48(1):1-11. Epub 2006 Jun 12.

Biomarkers in acute cardiac disease: the present and the future.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic and Medical School, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


The use of biomarkers to aid diagnosis and treatment is increasing rapidly as genomics and proteomics help us expand the number of markers we can use and as an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of cardiac disease guides their use. However, as with all rapidly expanding fields, there is the risk of excessive enthusiasm unless we are circumspect about the data that guide the clinical use of these new tools. This review focuses first on how to use troponin, which at present is the best validated of the new markers, and will hopefully provide insight into how to use this biomarker more productively by distinguishing subsets of patients and by providing an understanding of the meaning of elevations in various clinical situations. The review then discusses the use as well as the knowledge gaps associated with emerging biomarkers such as B-type natriuretic peptide and C-reactive protein, which are increasingly moving toward more productive clinical use. Finally, it reflects on some of the large number of markers that are still in development.

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