Compared with troponin T/I test, the introduction of a high-sensitive (hs) troponin test may result in a higher proportion of positive test results in patients with chest pain and over-testing in patients without acute coronary syndrome. We assessed the impact of the introduction of the hs-troponin assay on the discharge diagnoses and the number of diagnostic tests in patients presenting with chest pain in a real-life setting in an emergency department.
Retrospective chart review of patients presenting with chest pain to one of the largest hospitals in Switzerland. We compared the standard troponin period (December 2009 to November 2010) with the hs-troponin period (December 2010 to December 2011).
Data from 1274 patients (standard 597 [46.9%], hs-troponin 677 [53.1%]) were analyzed. The proportion of patients with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction increased (hs-troponin 14.9%, compared with 9.7%); the proportion in unstable angina (1.5% to 4.0%) and other cardiac illnesses (8.1% to 11.7%) decreased. Although the proportion of noncardiac chest pain illnesses (67%) remained unchanged, the proportion of positive hs-troponin was higher (6.1% vs 2.0%). The average number of additional tests/person decreased in troponin-positive patients (2.0 to 1.7 test per patient; P = .02) and troponin-negative patients (3.1 to 2.8 tests; P < .0001).
Although the introduction of the hs-troponin test resulted in a higher proportion of positive hs-troponin tests in patients with noncardiac chest pain, the average number of diagnostic tests decreased in patients with chest pain presenting to an emergency department, indicating an increased confidence of clinicians in their diagnosis.