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Prognostic value of high-sensitive cardiac troponin I in asymptomatic chronic hemodialysis patients

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Increased levels of cardiac troponins (cTn) are a hallmark of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), along with symptoms and electrocardiographic (ECG) changes. Stably elevated cTn concentrations are frequently observed in asymptomatic patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and/or on hemodialysis (HD); the meaning of this elevation, as assessed by conventional techniques, remains unclear. Aim of our study was to evaluate the clinical significance of cTnI levels in asymptomatic HD patients by employing a newer high-sensitive cTnI (hs-cTnI) assay.


We enrolled 49 patients undergoing regular HD treatment for more than 3 months; all patients were asymptomatic for chest pain and had no history of acute coronary syndrome in the past 2 months. For every patient we measured hs-cTnI, cTnI and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) before initiation of one HD session at baseline (T0), after 3 (T1) and 9 months (T2). Demographic, anamnestic, dialytic and echocardiographic characteristics of the examined population were evaluated. We also recorded the number of cardiovascular events from T0 to 12 months after T2.


Fifteen patients were lost to follow-up: 6 died, 2 underwent kidney transplantation, 7 did not match the inclusion criteria later during observation. At T0 (49 patients) we observed 14 hs-cTnI positive patients vs. 4 standard c-TnI positive patients (28,5% vs 8,1%); at T1 (40 patients) 16 vs 3 (26.4% vs 7.5%); at T2 (34 pz) 9 vs 0 (26.4% vs 0%). During the study we recorded 10 cardiovascular events, 8 of which in patients that were hs-cTNI positive, leading to death in 3. Hs-cTnI levels were predictive of cardiovascular events at all times and predictive of cardiovascular mortality at T0 and T1 (p < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, a history of coronary artery disease (CAD) was an independent variable of high hs-cTnI levels at T0 (p < 0.04) and T1 (p < 0.03).


Our study shows that a novel sensitive assay detects more asymptomatic HD patients compared to previously used methods, being at the same time predictive of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. The only independent variable of high hs-cTnI concentrations was a positive history of cardiovascular disease, suggesting a possible role of hs-cTnI in identifying a high-risk subset of patients.

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The study was entirely supported by institutional funding.

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Correspondence to Paolo Menè.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Maresca, B., Manzione, A., Moioli, A. et al. Prognostic value of high-sensitive cardiac troponin I in asymptomatic chronic hemodialysis patients. J Nephrol 33, 129–136 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40620-019-00610-5

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  • Troponins
  • High sensitive-cTnI
  • Hemodialysis
  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Chronic kidney disease