What is a troponin test?

A troponin test is is a measure of troponin T or I levels in the blood and is used to detect small degrees of damage to heart muscle cells (myocytes). Most cardiologits and emergency physicians interpret this as an indication of a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

Troponin T and troponin I are proteins found only in heart muscle tissue. Although there are some medical conditions in which troponin is slightly raised without damage to heart muscle (especially in patients on dialysis for chronic renal failure), troponins are normally not detectable in the bloodstream.

How a troponin test performed?

A troponin test is a blood test that requires a few millilitres of blood from a vein. The timing of the test is also important; to be reliable it needs to be taken at least 6 to 12 hours after the onset of chest pain or other symptoms.

When would you need a troponin test?

The main role of the test is to exclude a heart attack (myocardial infarction) in patients who have a normal or non-diagnostic ECG (electrocardiogram).

Troponin testing has become an important and frequently-used component of the medical evaluation of patients with chest pain, in hospitals as well as in the outpatient setting.

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Test results explained

A negative test result refers to a normal test, where troponin is not detected in the blood. Some doctors also consider a normal troponin test to put a patient in a lower risk category for any serious cardiac events within the following few weeks.

A test result revealing slight to high levels of troponin may indicate a degree of heart damage.

A test result revealing siginifcant levels of troponin indicates the patient has had a heart attack or suffered damage to the heart.

Ocassionally, an unexpected positive troponin test means that a patient will need to remain in hospital for a longer period of time, or will be called in to hospital for admission or further evaluation.

Related specialists

Related procedures

  • Blood Test (venesection)
  • Intravenous Cannulation
  • Angiography
  • Angioplasty
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
  • Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

Related tests

  • Creatine Kinase (CK)
  • Cardiac Enzymes (CK & Troponin)
  • Creatine Kinase, Cardiac iso-enzyme (CK-MB)
  • Aspartate Transaminase (AST)
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH)
  • B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP)
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

Also known as

  • Trop I (cTnI)
  • Trop T (cTnT)
  • Cardiac Troponin I (cTnI)
  • Cardiac Troponin T (cTnT)
  • Trop T Cardiac Enzymes Cardiac markers



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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.

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