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Biomarkers in acute coronary syndromes 

Biomarkers in acute coronary syndromes
Biomarkers in acute coronary syndromes

Evangelos Giannitsis

and Hugo A Katus



Introduction of MINOCA to describe acute myocardial infarction in the presence of non-obstructive coronary artery disease

Modification of risk stratification and timing of invasive strategy according to 2015 ESC guidelines on NSTE-ACS

Updated on 22 February 2018. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 07 July 2020

Biomarker testing in the evaluation of a patient with acute chest pain is best established for cardiac troponins that allow the diagnosis of myocardial infarction, risk estimation of short- and long-term risk of death and myocardial infarction, and guidance of pharmacological therapy, as well as the need and timing of invasive strategy. Newer, more sensitive troponin assays have become commercially available and have the capability to detect myocardial infarction earlier and more sensitively than standard assays, but they are hampered by a lack of clinical specificity, i.e. the ability to discriminate myocardial ischaemia from myocardial necrosis not related to ischaemia such as myocarditis, pulmonary embolism, or decompensated heart failure. Strategies to improve clinical specificity (including strict adherence to the universal myocardial infarction definition and the need for serial troponin measurements to detect an acute rise and/or fall of cardiac troponin) will improve the interpretation of the increasing number of positive results. Other biomarkers of inflammation, activated coagulation/fibrinolysis, and increased ventricular stress mirror different aspects of the underlying disease activity and may help to improve our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of acute coronary syndromes. Among the flood of new biomarkers, there are several novel promising biomarkers, such as copeptin that allows an earlier rule-out of myocardial infarction in combination with cardiac troponin, whereas MR-proANP and MR-proADM appear to allow a refinement of cardiovascular risk. GDF-15 might help to identify candidates for an early invasive vs conservative strategy. A multi-marker approach to biomarkers becomes more and more attractive, as increasing evidence suggests that a combination of several biomarkers may help to predict individual risk and treatment benefits, particularly among normal-troponin subjects. Future goals include the acceleration of rule-in and rule-out of patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome, in order to shorten lengths of stay in the emergency department, and to optimize patient management and the use of health care resources. New algorithms using high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays at low cut-offs alone, or in combination with additional biomarkers, allow to establish accelerated rule-out algorithms within 1 or 2 hours.

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