Comparison of a single high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T measurement with the HEART score for rapid rule-out of acute myocardial infarction in a primary care emergency setting: a cohort study

Link to article at PubMed

BMJ Open. 2021 Feb 24;11(2):e046024. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046024.


OBJECTIVE: This study aims to compare the rule-out safety of a single high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) with the History, ECG, Age, Risk factors and Troponin (HEART) score in a low-prevalence primary care setting of acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

PARTICIPANTS: Patients with non-specific symptoms suggestive of AMI were consecutively enroled at a primary care emergency clinic in Oslo, Norway from November 2016 to October 2018.

METHODS: After initial assessment by a general practitioner, hs-cTnT samples were drawn. AMI was ruled-out by a single hs-cTnT <5 ng/L measured ≥3 hours after symptom onset. The HEART score was calculated retrospectively; a score ≤3 of 10 points was considered low risk. We also calculated a modified HEART score using more sensitive hs-cTnT thresholds. The primary outcome was the diagnostic performance for the rule-out of AMI at the index event; the secondary the composite of AMI or all-cause death at 90 days.

RESULTS: Among 1711 patients, 61 (3.6%) were diagnosed with AMI, and 569 (33.3%) patients were assigned to single rule-out (<5 ng/L). With no AMIs in this group, the negative predictive value (NPV) and sensitivity were both 100.0% (95% CI 99.4% to 100.0% and 94.1% to 100.0%, respectively), and the specificity 34.5% (32.2% to 36.8%). The original HEART score triaged more patients as low risk (n=871), but missed five AMIs (NPV 99.4% (98.7% to 99.8%); sensitivity 91.8% (81.9% to 97.3%) and specificity 52.5% (50.0% to 54.9%)). The modified HEART score increased the low-risk sensitivity to 98.4% (91.2% to 100.0%), with specificity 38.7% (36.3% to 41.1%). The 90-day incidence of AMI or death in the single rule-out and the original and modified low-risk HEART groups were 0.0%, 0.7%, and 0.2%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: In a primary care emergency setting, a single hs-cTnT strategy was superior to the HEART score in ruling out AMI. This rapid and safe approach may enhance the assessment of patients with chest pain outside of hospitals.


PMID:33627355 | DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046024

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