Staged cardiovascular magnetic resonance for differential diagnosis of troponin T positive patients with low likelihood for acute coronary syndrome

Henning Steen, Media Madadi-Schroeder, Stephanie Lehrke, Dirk Lossnitzer, Evangelos Giannitsis, Hugo A Katus
Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2010, 12: 51

BACKGROUND: Cardiac troponin-T (cTnT) is a cardio-specific indicator of myocardial necrosis due to ischemic or non-ischemic events. Considering the multiple causes of myocardial injury and treatment consequences there is great clinical need to clarify the underlying reason for cTnT release. We sought to implement acute CMR as a non-invasive imaging method for differential diagnosis of elevated cTnT in chest-pain unit (CPU) patients with non-conclusive symptoms and ECG-changes and a low to intermediate probability for coronary artery disease (CAD).

RESULTS: CPU patients (n = 29) who had positive cTnT were scanned at 1.5T with a new step-by-step CMR algorithm including cine-, perfusion-, T2-, angiography-and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging. For comparison patients also underwent echocardiography and coronary angiography if necessary. CMR was conducted successfully in all patients and detected 93% of cTnT releases of unknown cause, without adverse hemodynamic or arrhythmic events. Acute myocardial infarction was detected in 11, pulmonary embolism in 6, myocarditis in 5, renal disease and cardiomyopathy in 2, storage disorder in 1 patient. In 2 patients CMR was unable to reveal the cause of cTnT elevations. Mean CMR scan-time was 35 ± 8 min. In 4 patients, CMR led to immediate coronary angiography with correct prediction of the infarct related artery.

CONCLUSIONS: We implemented a novel CMR algorithm to show the clinical value and practical feasibility of acute CMR in a non-conclusive patient cohort with unclear cTnT elevation. Since this pilot study has shown the feasibility of CMR in CPU patients, further prospective studies are warranted to compare CMR with other imaging modalities.

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