Optimizing the Use of High-Sensitivity Troponin Assays for the Early Rule-out of Myocardial Infarction in Patients Presenting with Chest Pain: A Systematic Review

M.E. Westwood*, N. Armstrong, G. Worthy, D. Fayter, B.L.T. Ramaekers, S. Grimm, T. Buksnys, J. Ross, N.L. Mills, R. Body, P.O. Collinson, A. Timmis, J. Kleijnen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)


BACKGROUND: We assessed the accuracy and clinical effectiveness of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays for early rule-out of non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) in adults presenting with acute chest pain.METHODS: Sixteen databases were searched to September 2019. Review methods followed published guidelines. The bivariate model was used to estimate summary sensitivity and specificity with 95% confidence intervals for meta-analyses involving 4 or more studies, otherwise random-effects logistic regression was used.RESULTS: Thirty-seven studies (124 publications) were included in the review. The hs-cTn test strategies evaluated in the included studies were defined by the combination of 4 factors (assay, number of tests, timing of tests, and threshold concentration or change in concentration between tests). Clinical opinion indicated a minimum acceptable sensitivity of 97%. A single test at presentation using a threshold at or near the assay limit of detection could reliably rule-out NSTEMI for a range of hs-cTn assays. Serial testing strategies, which include an immediate rule-out step, increased the proportion ruled out without loss of sensitivity. Finally, serial testing strategies without an immediate rule-out step had excellent sensitivity and specificity, but at the expense of the option for immediate patient discharge.CONCLUSION: Test strategies that comprise an initial rule-out step, based on low hs-cTn concentrations at presentation and a minimum symptom duration, and a second step for those not ruled-out that incorporates a small absolute change in hs-cTn at 1,2, or 3 hours, produce the highest rule-out rates with a very low risk of missed NSTEMI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • american-college
  • association
  • diagnosis
  • i assays
  • metaanalysis
  • point

Cite this