High-sensitivity cardiac troponin i assay to screen for acute rejection in patients with heart transplant

Parag C. Patel, Douglas A. Hill, Colby R. Ayers, Bhavna Lavingia, Patricia Kaiser, Adrian K. Dyer, Aliessa P. Barnes, Jennifer T. Thibodeau, Joseph D. Mishkin, Pradeep P.A. Mammen, David W. Markham, Peter Stastny, W. Steves Ring, James A. De Lemos, Mark H. Drazner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: A noninvasive biomarker that could accurately diagnose acute rejection (AR) in heart transplant recipients could obviate the need for surveillance endomyocardial biopsies. We assessed the performance metrics of a novel highsensitivity cardiac troponin I (cTnI) assay for this purpose. Methods and Results: Stored serum samples were retrospectively matched to endomyocardial biopsies in 98 cardiac transplant recipients, who survived ≥3 months after transplant. AR was defined as International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation grade 2R or higher cellular rejection, acellular rejection, or allograft dysfunction of uncertain pathogenesis, leading to treatment for presumed rejection. cTnI was measured with a high-sensitivity assay (Abbott Diagnostics, Abbott Park, IL). Cross-sectional analyses determined the association of cTnI concentrations with rejection and International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation grade and the performance metrics of cTnI for the detection of AR. Among 98 subjects, 37% had ≥1 rejection episode. cTnI was measured in 418 serum samples, including 35 paired to a rejection episode. cTnI concentrations were significantly higher in rejection versus nonrejection samples (median, 57.1 versus 10.2 ng/L; P<0.0001) and increased in a graded manner with higher biopsy scores (Ptrend<0.0001). The c-statistic to discriminate AR was 0.82 (95% confidence interval, 0.76-0.88). Using a cut point of 15 ng/L, sensitivity was 94%, specificity 60%, positive predictive value 18%, and negative predictive value 99%. Conclusions: A high-sensitivity cTnI assay seems useful to rule out AR in cardiac transplant recipients. If validated in prospective studies, a strategy of serial monitoring with a high-sensitivity cTnI assay may offer a low-cost noninvasive strategy for rejection surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-469
Number of pages7
JournalCirculation: Heart Failure
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis
  • Graft rejection
  • Transplants
  • Troponin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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