Troponin test is a significant diagnostic marker in the identification of cardiac impairments such as infarctions. It is recommended in almost all medical facilities especially as an advanced cardiac life support diagnostic test. The efficiency of this test is that it helps in identifying small degrees of damage to heart muscle cells. The most common cause of cardiac injury is myocardial ischemia.
For this test to be reliable, it must be administered within 6 to 12 hours of chest pain or any other typical symptom of heart disease. With a Troponin test, patients displaying ECG variations or palpitations can rule out myocardial infarction. Based upon the analysis of the vital signs and Troponin test, the physician recommends a specific type of treatment or procedure associated with the condition.
Troponins are muscle proteins found in striated muscles and their role in identifying cardiac conditions and embolisms associated with brain and lungs are remarkable. These indicators or markers are precise in their identification pattern, which paves the way to rule out complex conditions associated with the heart, lungs and the brain.
There are 2 types of myofilament, a thick ﬁlament of myosin and a thin ﬁlament of 3 different proteins:
Troponin is itself a complex of 3 proteins:
Troponin T is associated with tropomyosin binding sites, Troponin I inhibits the contraction of actin and myosin - actomyosin ATPase and Troponin C is associated with calcium channel binding. In the cytosol, Troponin T is found in free as well as protein bound forms. The unbound free pool of troponin T is released in the initial phase of myocardial damage while the bound Troponin T is released at a later stage, in tune with the degradation of myofibrils and irreversible myocardial damage.
Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) or Myocardial Ischemia is the primary cause of cardiac injury. Troponins - the marker proteins have a unique diagnostic window in that the timeline during which the marker rises, peaks and returns to normal is of significance. Troponin levels rise within 2 - 4 hours after the onset of myocardial necrosis and stays high for up to 14 days. This long window of elevated levels allows detection of Myocardial Infarction that occurred several days ago. Troponin levels enable us to predict the extent of heart muscle damage. Troponin levels in a healthy individual will be negligible (less than 0.5 ng/mL). The greater the amount of troponin in the blood, greater is the damage to the heart. Troponin I value less than 10 microgram per liter is considered as normal whereas troponin T value should be less than 0.1 microgram per liter.
Troponin levels greater than 2.0 ng/mL indicate significant myocardial damage and is at an elevated level of risk for further serious heart conditions. Levels between 0.5 and 2.0 ng/mL indicate a possible diagnosis of unstable angina, other heart ailments or chronic kidney failure. In some cases the finding of unstable angina and an elevated troponin T may well be a unique response to treatment techniques involving anti platelet agents and heparin.
Each of these muscle proteins has specific origin of action and hence they are closely associated with the cardiovascular system. Troponin test is ordered mostly as an emergency care measure in order to stop an adverse effect caused due to angina and Congestive heart failure (CHF).
There are two types of tests for troponins T and I:
1. Traditional quantitative test: Shows an actual measurement of troponin. Usually this test takes about 45 -90 minutes and is useful to distinguish between Myocardial Infarction and unstable Angina.
2. Qualitative test: Shows the result Positive or Negative. This test takes about 15 minutes and is useful in emergency rooms where critical decisions have to be taken based on the presence of Troponin level.
A 'negative' troponin test means that the protein was not detected in the blood. A positive indicates the need for further evaluation.
CK blood test
A Creatinine Kinase test is a blood test that measures the levels of Creatinine phosphokinase (CPK). It is an enzyme found predominantly in the heart tissue, brain and skeletal muscle. The CK blood test is commonly used to diagnose the existence of heart muscle damage. The CK blood test result shows an increase above normal in a person's blood test about six hours after the start of a heart attack.
It reaches its peak in about 18 hours and returns to normal in 24 to 36 hours. When the total CPK level is substantially elevated, then it is indicative of injury or stress to heart, brain or skeletal areas. The small amount of CPK that is normally in the blood comes from the muscles. The CPK blood test also helps in cost-effective management of people with suspected coronary atherosclerosis. It also evaluates the extent of muscle damage caused by drugs, trauma or immobility.
Abnormal CK-MB (one of three CK isoenzymes) or troponin levels are associated with Myocyte Necrosis and the diagnosis of Myocardial infarction. The Cardiac Markers of Cardiac Myocyte Necrosis (damage to the Cardiac muscle cells), myoglobin, CK, CK-MB and troponin I and T are primarily used to identify acute Myocardial Infarction.
It is used in early detection of dermatomyositis and polymyositis. It is also used to distinguish malignant hyperthermia from a post operative infection. It helps to discover carriers of muscular dystrophy.
The normal range for Creatinine Kinase (CK or CPK) blood test:
Male: 38 - 174 units/L
Female: 96 - 140 units/L
Increased levels of CK also can be found in viral myositis and hypothyroidism. Higher than normal CPK levels is indicative of the following conditions:
- Heart attack
- Delirium Tremens
- Electric shock
- Muscular dystrophy
- Pulmonary infarction
Serum CKMB levels are tested to check for myocardial injury. It is another important cardiac marker. The primary source of CKMB is myocardium although it is also found in skeletal muscle. Typically CKMB tests have now been replaced by Troponin test. But in cases of abnormal Troponin assay results or suspected re-infarction in the hospital, the CKMB serum test is still used.
High levels of CK MB are noticed in cases of polymyositis and rhabdomyolysis. Patients suffering pulmonary embolism, hypothyroidism, and muscular dystrophy or carbon monoxide poisoning can also show higher levels of serum CKMB. The reference range is about 56.2 pg/mL.