Troponins
(cTnI; cTnT)

Alternate Names

  • Cardiac-Specific Troponin T
  • Cardiac-Specific Troponin I

Troponins are proteins found in both cardiac and skeletal muscles that are necessary for normal muscle activity. Troponins are specific to the muscle where they are found, and blood levels are mainly used to diagnose conditions affecting the heart. cTnT (Cardiac Troponin T) and cTnI (Cardiac Troponin I) are very specific to cardiac muscle tissue damage. Levels elevate sooner and stay elevated longer than CK-MB (another blood test used to diagnose heart attack). Multiple blood samples will be drawn over a period of time to track the progression and resolution of heart injury. Low levels are an indication of a small area of muscle injury; high levels are an indication of a large area of muscle injury. A new test has been developed that can be run at the bedside, using a device similar to the glucometer used by diabetics. Troponin levels are also used to diagnose the risk of angina progressing to heart attack, and to also assess the risk of future heart attacks.

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