Persistently elevated troponin I in heart failure patients - a suitable prognosticator and a possible boon to public health?
ABSTRACT Baseline elevation of troponin I (TnI) has been associated with worse outcomes in heart failure (HF). However, the prevalence of persistent TnI elevation and its association with clinical outcomes has not been well described. HF is a major public health issue due to its wide prevalence and prognosticators of this condition will have a significant impact on public health. Methods: A retrospective study was performed in 510 patients with an initial HF admission between 2002 to 2004, and all subsequent hospital admissions up to May 2009 were recorded in a de-identified database. Persistent TnI elevation was defined as a level ≥0.05 ng/ml on ≥3 HF admissions. Baseline characteristics, hospital readmissions and all cause mortality were compared between patients with persistent TnI elevation (Persistent), patients with no persistence of TnI (Nonpersistent) and patients who had less than three hospital admissions (admission <3) groups. Also the same data was analyzed using the mean method in which the mean value of all recorded troponin values of each patient was used to define persistence i.e. patients who had a mean troponin level ≥0.05 ng/ml were classified as persistent. Results: Mean age of our cohort was 68.4 years out of which 99.6% subjects were male, 62.4% had ischemic HF. 78.2% had NYHA class III to IV HF, mean LVEF was 25.9%. Persistent elevation of TnI was seen in 26% of the cohort and in 66% of patients with more than 3 hospital admissions. Mean TnI level was 0.67 ± 0.15 ng/ml in the 'Persistent' group. Mean TnI using the mean method was 1.11 ± 7.25 ng/ml. LVEF was significantly lower in persistent group. Hypertension, diabetes, chronic renal insufficiency and mean age did not differ between the two groups. 'Persistent' patients had higher mortality (HR= 1.26 , 95% CI = 0.89-1.78, p = 0.199 when unadjusted and HR= 1.29, 95% CI = 0.89-1.86, p = 0.176 when adjusted for race, LVEF and ischemic etiology) HR for mortality in persistent patients was 1.99 ( 95% CI = 1.06-3.73, p = 0.03) using the mean method. The following results were found in those with ischemic cardiomyopathy (HR= 1.44034, 95% CI = 0.92-2.26, p = 0.113) and (HR = 1.89, 95% CI = 1.01-3.55, p = 0.046) by using the mean method. 2 out of three patients with HF who were readmitted three or more times had persistent elevation of troponin I levels. Patients with chronic persistence of troponin I elevation showed a trend towards lesser survival as compared to patients who did not have chronic persistence, however this did not reach statistical significance. This trend was seen more among ischemic patients than non ischemic patients, but did not reach statistical significance. With the mean method, patients with chronic persistence of troponin I elevation had significantly lesser survival than those without it. Also ischemic patients had significantly lesser survival than non ischemic patients.