Implications of elevated cardiac troponin in patients presenting with acute pulmonary embolism: an observational study

Ayman El-Menyar, Mohammad Asim, Syed Nabir, Mohamed Nadeem Ahmed, Hassan Al-Thani


Background: To evaluate the implications of elevated cardiac troponin (cTn) in patients presenting with pulmonary embolism (PE).
Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis for patients with PE between 2011 and 2015 with an average of 3 years follow-up. Patients were categorized into two groups based on the cTn status on admission (negative vs. positive) and RV/LV ratio (≤1.2 vs. >1.2). PE diagnosis was made by computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) examinations.
Results: Among 220 patients with PE, 52.7% had positive cTn and 31.7% had RV dysfunction. Protein S and C deficiency were significantly higher in patients with negative cTn. Patients with positive cTn were more likely to have high-risk simplified pulmonary embolism severity index (sPESI), RV dilation, RV/LV ratio >1.2, severe inferior vena cava reflux and high Qanadli score (QS >18 points). Thrombolytic therapy was used in 15 patients; 9 (60%) of them had elevated troponin. Combined cTn and sPESI had higher sensitivity, negative predictive value and negative likelihood ratio to predict in-hospital mortality. Overall 30-day and 3 years morality were 10.0% and 22.3%; that were significantly higher in patients with positive troponin. Cox regression analysis showed that mortality increased 2.5 times with positive cTn after adjusting for age, sex, and RV dysfunction (adjusted HR 2.5; 95% CI: 1.25–5.01), P=0.009.
Conclusions: Elevated cTn is independent predictor of short and long-term mortality. The predictive power of cTn increases when combined with the clinical probability score. Further, larger prospective studies are needed to confirm the findings of the present study.