Preventive Healthcare

Troponin: What Is it, Tests, and More

Troponin Serum Test: Its Significance in Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Attack

Troponins are proteins necessary for the cardiac and skeletal muscles to contract. Under normal circumstances, troponin is present inside the muscle cells. When there is damage to these muscle cells, the troponin inside them leaks into the bloodstream. Thus, the presence of troponin in the blood indicates muscle injury.

There are three kinds of troponin: troponin C, troponin I, and troponin T. Troponin I is present only in the cardiac muscle. Troponin T is also present in other muscles but in very small quantities, and also, its structure is unique in cardiac muscles. Thus, troponin I and troponin T are used as cardiac markers to detect a heart attack because the heart muscles sustain the maximum damage during a heart attack.

Continue reading to learn more about this critical protein, its tests, and other things you need to know about testing for troponin.

Why Do You Need a Troponin Serum Test?

A troponin I and T-test are typically performed if your doctor suspects you are suffering from a heart attack. Your doctor will order a cardiac troponin test to rule out or confirm a heart attack if you exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Chest discomfort or pain.
  • Pain in your arm, back, jaw, or neck in addition to other body areas.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sweating.

They might also request an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) and other blood tests for a definitive diagnosis.

What Does a Troponin Serum Test Mean?

Doctors check your cardiac troponin levels to determine if you are having a heart attack. Additionally, a troponin test gives quick results, which can help doctors make a prompt diagnosis and provide timely treatment to the patient, which can be life-saving.

Clinicians previously utilised other blood tests such as the CPK isoenzyme test to identify heart attacks. But because they are not sensitive enough to pick up every attack, they are not always the best test. These blood tests reveal nothing about smaller heart attacks. Additionally, the other tests measure chemicals that are not sufficiently precise for the heart muscle.

Troponin has greater sensitivity and the levels rise within 3 hrs of heart attack . Doctors can more accurately identify a heart attack or other heart-related illnesses and start treating patients right away by measuring cardiac troponin levels in the blood.

After cardiac muscle damage, there are two forms of troponin that are easier to detect; they can be distinguished by the letters I and T.

Troponin I (cTnI): only the heart muscle produces this type of troponin.

Troponin T (cTnT): Other muscle types do contain some troponin T, but the levels are very small. Additionally, the troponin T in your heart muscle has a unique structure that is different from the troponin T of other muscles.

How Is the Troponin I Serum Test Performed?

To perform this test, a sample of your blood is drawn, examined, and tested for troponin. Doctors can detect the presence of heart injury if the troponin level is high enough.

A heart attack can be accurately diagnosed using this test in conjunction with other diagnostic procedures such as an electrocardiogram and electrical tracing of the heart.

The troponin test should not be repeated within 9 days of the first positive test and its level becomes normal post this period. In case one has symptoms of a second episode of heart attack within 9 days of the first then CK-MB test is recommended.

With the advancement in laboratory sciences and infrastructure, modern and highly-sensitivity troponin tests have developed. These tests can detect elevated troponin levels as early as 9 minutes after a heart attack. This early detection turns out to be lifesaving in many cases and has revolutionised the treatment of heart attacks.

Do You Need Any Preparation Before Undergoing a Troponin Test?

In most cases, you cannot do any preparation for this test because, more often than not, heart attacks come all of a sudden and are unpredictable. In the event you need to undergo a troponin test, it is recommended that you inform your doctor if you take a Vitamin B7 (commonly known as biotin) supplement as it may affect the result of this test.

How to Interpret the Troponin Test Results?

The normal range (expected level) of troponin in the blood of a healthy person is undetectable or very low and is mentioned in laboratory reports. Elevated serum troponin levels indicate that your cardiac muscle cells are injured and are leaking troponin into the bloodstream.

Although a spike in troponin levels is commonly associated with a heart attack, many other medical conditions harm the heart muscles and can cause raised troponin levels. These include:

  • Endocarditis
  • Myocarditis
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Pericarditis
  • Stable Angina
  • Heart failure
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm)
  • Cardiac valve dysfunction
  • Sepsis

Takeaway

The troponin test is an invaluable tool for early detection of a heart attack. Although this test has been around for a while, improvements in technology have substantially improved its precision, accuracy, and detection time. With all these advancements, this test has become one of the most effective techniques for the timely diagnosis and treatment of a heart attack.

Book a troponin I serum test immediately if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a heart attack and visit your doctor without delay.

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