Acad Emerg Med. 2020 Jul 29. doi: 10.1111/acem.14098. Online ahead of print.
High-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays facilitate early decision-making in acute myocardial infarction (AMI).1 The accuracy of these assays now allow sex-specific differences in levels to be detected within healthy populations. It is thought that differences in plasma levels of cardiac troponin (cTn) are due to sex-specific variations in body composition and cardiac physiology,2 and that estrogen may also play a part.3 However, the clinical relevance of this remains unclear.4 Women presenting with suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are less frequently diagnosed, have poorer outcomes,5 and are more likely to have atypical symptoms than men.6 The requirement for sex-specific cutoffs may vary depending on the troponin assay, intended use, AMI type, and clinical performance estimate being assessed. Previously proposed sex-specific hs-cTnT assay cutoffs (females, 14 ng/L; males, 22 ng/L) did not alter sensitivity for AMI versus the overall cutoff (19 ng/L), but resulted in slightly lower specificity for AMI in females and higher specificity in males.4 However, it is uncertain whether sex-specific cutoffs improve hs-cTnT assay diagnostic performance.