Using postoperative cardiac troponin-I (cTi) levels to detect myocardial ischaemia in patients undergoing vascular surgery
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Background. Cardiac complications occur commonly in vascular surgery patients. Diagnosis of cardiac complications is difficult because of the inaccuracies associated with traditional cardiac enzyme measurements. CTi, a highly sensitive and specific marker of myocardial injury, may be able to detect cardiac complications with greater ease and accuracy. Methods. The study prospectively examined 100 consecutive patients who underwent major vascular surgery between 6/7/98 and 31/12/98 at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. Daily measurements of cTi, creatine kinase (CK), creatine kinase MB (CKMB), CKMB index, renal function and haemoglobin were taken for three postoperative days. One postoperative electrocardiograph (ECG) was taken. An extensive cardiac history was taken. Intraoperative and postoperative events were recorded. Findings. There were 100 patients. 18 patients (18%) had a cTi elevation. On the basis of classical diagnostic criteria, 15 patients (15%) suffered one or more cardiac complication (either myocardial infarction, congestive cardiac failure, unstable angina or atrial fibrillation). One patient (1%) who had a cTi elevation died. CTi elevation occurred in five patients (5%) who were not diagnosed with cardiac complications based on traditional criteria. Despite not meeting specific diagnostic criteria for cardiac complications, all patients showed signs and symptoms that could be attributed to myocardial ischaemia. Every patient who developed congestive cardiac failure or atrial fibrillation had a cTi elevation. A Chi-square analysis revealed a significant association between cTi elevation and postoperative cardiac complications. Four variables contributed small but significant amounts of unique variance to the prediction of peak cTi on linear regression analysis. These were peak CKMB index, postoperative congestive cardiac failure, postoperative chest pain and postoperative cardiac complications. Conclusions. Routine cTi monitoring of postoperative vascular patients would be an effective and inexpensive way to detect patients with cardiac complications. The relationship between postoperative cTi elevation and significant coronary artery disease remains to be shown.
© 2001 Elsevier : Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher : This journal is available online - use hypertext links.