The Need for High-sensitivity Troponin on Grey’s Anatomy

On an episode of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, the need for hsTnI becomes a reality for one character as she experiences a near-misdiagnosed heart attack. Read more.
The Need for High-sensitivity Troponin on Grey’s Anatomy

In a 2018 episode of the ABC series Grey’s Anatomy, the need for high-sensitivity troponin testing became a reality for the show’s characters.

Amid her day-to-day tasks, character Dr. Miranda Bailey realizes she is suffering from a heart attack and presents herself to the local hospital to get medical assistance. Though Dr. Bailey insists on a getting cardiac tests ordered, the doctor treating her focused on Miranda’s prior OCD diagnosis and called in a psych consult.

Unfortunately, this scenario is a reality for many. According to a study done by the European Society of Cardiology, chest pain is misdiagnosed in women more frequently than in men.i Heart attack symptoms may present differently in women than in men, paving a gap for potential missed myocardial infarctions (MIs).

The low suspicion of heart attack occurs in both women themselves and in physicians, leading to higher risks of late diagnosis and misdiagnosis.
Dr. Gemma Martinez-Nadal
Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Spain

But what if there were sex-specific cutoffs for men and women?

Rapid detection of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) means moving the patient to the next step in the care pathway for further treatment. Ruling out a cardiac event could allow a patient to be released sooner, making room for others seeking care. A high-sensitive troponin I test gives clinicians fast, accurate information to support early rule-in or rule-out of AMI in the ED. High-sensitivity assays with sex-specific thresholds can especially help to increase the diagnostic capability of AMI in women.ii

While high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays measure the same analyte as their cTn predecessors, they are more precise in analytical sensitivity. Since the cornerstone of AMI treatment is timely intervention, high-sensitive troponins are a technological milestone in expediting cardiac care.iii A high-sensitive troponin test can measure lower troponin levels in blood, obtaining limits of quantification (LoQ) in previously undetectable ranges.

Overall, men and women exhibit different troponin levels, largely due to differences in heart size. Determination of sex-specific reference ranges is possible with high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays. This may help refine the identification of AMI in women, who often present with atypical symptoms.

Learn more about Access hsTnI (High Sensitivity Troponin I) Assay.

i.European Society of Cardiology. (2021, March 12). Heart attack diagnosis missed in women more often than in men. European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Retrieved November 5, 2021, from https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Heart-attack-diagnosis-missed-in-women-more-often-than-in-men

ii. Kimenai, D.M., Lindahl, B., Jernberg, T. et al. Sex-specific effects of implementing a high-sensitivity troponin I assay in patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome: results from SWEDEHEART registry. Sci Rep 10, 15227 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72204-2

iii. https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2016/06/20/07/30/will-the-use-of-high-sensitivity-troponin-increase-the-frequency-of-diagnosis-of-mi

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
The Beckman Coulter editorial team brings you timely news and resources focused on elevating clinical laboratory performance and advancing patient care.

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