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Am J Cardiol. 2012 Jul 15;110(2):284-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.03.020. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

Use and misuse of serum troponin assays in pediatric practice.

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Division of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


Cardiac troponin (cTn) is instrumental in screening and diagnosing myocardial ischemia in adults. However, the role of cTn screening in the pediatric population is less clear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current clinical practice, diagnostic and prognostic value, and resource utilization associated with cTn assays in the pediatric population. A multicenter, retrospective review of all cTn assays performed on patients aged ≤18 years from January 2003 to December 2010 in the Intermountain Healthcare system was conducted. Data collected included patient demographics, location, presenting symptoms, provisional and discharge diagnoses, additional tests, clinical outcomes (hospitalization days, ventilation, and death), and patient charges. During the study period, cTn assays were performed on 3,497 pediatric patients. The most common presenting diagnoses were chest pain (40%), trauma (11%), and poisoning or drug overdose (9%). Irrespective of diagnosis, elevated cTn was associated with an increased rate of hospitalization, ventilation, and death. Overall, 12% of patients had elevated cTn. Of the patients with chest pain, 4% had elevated cTn, 53% of whom were diagnosed with myopericarditis. In the myopericarditis group, 66% presented with fever, and 98% had abnormal electrocardiographic findings. For patients presenting with chest pain, approximately $162,000 was spent per positive result. In conclusion, cTn screening has strong prognostic value in pediatric patients, even in noncardiac diagnoses such as trauma or drug overdose. However, cTn screening in pediatric patients with chest pain provides minimal benefits and is associated with increased resource utilization, unless patients have constitutional symptoms, such as fever and/or electrocardiographic abnormalities.

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