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What is Troponin-T test? 

The troponin-T test determines the amount of the protein troponin T in a person’s blood.

Troponins are found in skeletal and heart muscle of the body. There are three types of troponins: troponin I, C and T. Cardiac troponin I and C are subgroups of these troponins. Cardiac troponin T is expressed in the heart muscle fibres. Normally, troponin T is not found in the bloodstream. It appears in circulation when there is damage to heart muscles.

An elevation in troponin T level indicates that you are having a heart attack or have had a heart attack recently.

Following heart muscle damage, troponin T levels in the blood increase within three to 12 hours and get back to normal within 10 to 15 days. Higher amounts of troponin will be seen in the blood as the heart damage worsens.

Troponin T has a very high specificity for heart muscle injury; hence, it is very useful in the evaluation of a patient with chest pain. Doctors usually order this test along with other cardiac tests such as myoglobin, CK (creatine kinase) and CK-MB (creatine kinase-myocardial band) for detecting heart attack.

Troponins can also predict the probability of any forthcoming cardiac events.

  1. Why is a Troponin-T test performed?
  2. How do you prepare for a Troponin-T test?
  3. How is a Troponin-T test performed?
  4. Troponin-T test results and normal range

The troponin-T test is ordered in the emergency room when a patient shows the following symptoms of a heart attack:

Also, this test is used in the following cardiac clinical situations:

  • Unstable angina
  • Estimation of the severity of a heart attack
  • Detection of a heart attack around the time of a surgery
  • Evaluation of the severity of pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung)
  • Congestive heart failure

Troponin T is always preferred over troponin I for diagnosing heart attacks because of its higher specificity and sensitivity towards heart muscle injury.

Troponin T levels help in predicting the long-term risk of cardiac death in a patient with other complications such as end-stage renal disease.

After you have been tested once, this test may be repeated over the next 24 hours. A repeat test helps the doctor to check for any changes in the levels of troponin T over time.

No special preparations are required for a troponin T test. Intramuscular injections, vigorous exercising and medications do not interfere with the results of this test.

Your doctor will withdraw a blood sample from a vein in your arm. You may feel a slight pricking sensation when the needle is inserted - it will subside soon. If you have felt dizzy or faint during a blood test in the past or if you are scared of needles or the sight of blood, please inform your doctor or nurse so that they can help you feel more comfortable.

Normal results:

The normal value for cardiac troponin T is <0.2 ng/mL (nanograms per millilitre).

This value may differ slightly from one laboratory to another. Also, the presence of even a small amount of troponin T in the blood often means some damage to the heart. Please speak to your doctor for an accurate interpretation of your results. 

If your troponin T levels are normal for 12 hours after chest pain, it is unlikely that you have a heart attack. In such a case, your symptoms may be attributed to another condition.

Abnormal results:

Increased troponin T levels (> 0.2 ng/mL) may also be seen in the following conditions:

Significantly increased troponin T levels usually indicate that a heart attack has occurred. Troponin T levels remain high for one to two weeks after a heart attack.

Dialysis patients may show false-positive results.

Disclaimer: All results must be clinically correlated with the patient’s complaints to make a complete and accurate diagnosis. The above information is provided from a purely educational point of view and is in no way a substitute for medical advice by a qualified doctor.


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