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Am Heart J. 2011 Aug;162(2):276-282.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2011.05.022.

A multicenter comparison of established and emerging cardiac biomarkers for the diagnostic evaluation of chest pain in the emergency department.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, 02114, USA.



The aim of this study is to assess the role of novel biomarkers for the diagnostic evaluation of acute coronary syndrome (ACS).


Among 318 patients presenting to an emergency department with acute chest discomfort, we evaluated the diagnostic value of 5 candidate biomarkers (amino terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide [NT-proBNP], ischemia modified albumin, heart fatty acid binding protein, high-sensitivity troponin I [hsTnI], and unbound free fatty acids [FFAu]) for detecting ACS, comparing their results with that of conventional troponin T (cTnT).


Sixty-two subjects (19.5%) had ACS. The sensitivity and negative predictive values of NT-proBNP (73%, 90%) and hsTnI (57%, 89%) were higher than that of cTnT (22%, 84%). Unbound free fatty acids had the highest overall combination of sensitivity (75%), specificity (72%), and negative predictive values (92%) of all the markers examined. A significant increase in the C-statistic for cTnT resulted from the addition of results for NT-proBNP (change 0.09, P = .001), hsTnI (change 0.13, P < .001), and FFAu (change 0.15, P < .001). In integrated discrimination improvement and net reclassification improvement analyses, NT-proBNP, hsTnI, and FFAu added significant diagnostic information to cTnT; when changing the diagnostic criterion standard for ACS to hsTnI, FFAu still added significant reclassification for both events and nonevents. In serial sampling (n = 180), FFAu added important reclassification information to hsTnI.


Among emergency department patients with symptoms suggestive of ACS, neither ischemia modified albumin nor heart fatty acid binding protein detected or excluded ACS, whereas NT-proBNP, hsTnI, or FFAu added diagnostic information to cTnT. In the context of hsTnI results, FFAu measurement significantly reclassified both false negatives and false positives at baseline and in serial samples.


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