Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2021 Feb 24:S0033-0620(21)00026-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2021.02.012. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether circulating cardiac troponin I (cTnI) levels are associated with worst outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).
METHODS: Consecutive patients visiting the emergency room (ER) with a new episode of a previously diagnosed AF or a new diagnosis of AF during ER admission between January 1st, 2010 and December 31st, 2015, were enrolled in the study (n = 2617). After applying exclusion criteria and eliminating repeated episodes, 2013 patients were finally included. Of these, 1080 patients with at least one cTnI measurement in the ER were selected and classified into 4 groups according to cTnI quartiles: Q1 (n = 147) cTnI <10 ng/L (Group 1); Q2 (n = 254): 10-19 ng/L (Group 2); Q3 (n = 409): 20-40 ng/L (Group 3); and Q4 (n = 270): cTnI >40 ng/L (Group 4). The median follow-up period was 47.8 ± 32.8 months. The primary endpoint was all-cause death during the follow-up.
RESULTS: A higher mortality was found in group 4 compared with the other groups (58.9% vs. 28.5%, respectively, p < 0.001), along with, hospitalizations (40.4% vs. 30.7%, p = 0.004), and readmissions due to decompensated heart failure (26.7% vs. 2.5%, p = 0.002). The probability of survival without AF recurrences was lower in the Q4 (p = 0.045). Moreover, cTnI levels >40 ng/L (Q4) were an independent risk factor of death (HR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.64-2.51; p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: The assessment of cTnI at ER admission could be a useful strategy for risk stratification of patients diagnosed with AF by identifying a subgroup with medium-term to long-term increased risk of adverse events and mortality.