Negative Predictive Value of Cardiac Troponin for Predicting Adverse Cardiac Events Following Blunt Chest Trauma

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Cardiac-specific troponins (Tns) are sensitive and specific markers of myocardial injury that have been shown to be predictive of outcomes in many cardiac and noncardiac conditions. We sought to determine whether normal cardiac Tn concentrations obtained during the first 24 hours following blunt chest trauma would predict good cardiac outcomes. A PubMed/MEDLINE search was performed to identify prospective studies in patients with blunt chest trauma in which serial cardiac TnT or TnI values were measured within 24 hours of admission and clinical outcomes assessed. Ten studies qualified for review. Studies that used the lower reference limit of Tn as the cutoff for cardiac injury showed 100% negative predictive value (NPV) for developing cardiac complications, whereas studies using higher Tn cutoffs showed wider variation in NPV (50%-98%). Cardiac Tn measured within 24 hours using the lower reference limit (LRL) as the cutoff appears to have excellent NPV for clinically significant adverse cardiac events. This could allow for early discharge after a 24-hour observation period in otherwise uncomplicated blunt chest trauma patients and avoid the need for more expensive cardiac imaging and additional resource utilization.