Author Interviews, Biomarkers, CMAJ, Heart Disease / 20.08.2018 Interview with: Peter Kavsak, PhD, FCACB, FAACC, FCCS Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine McMaster University What is the background for this study? Response: For patients who present to the hospital with symptoms suggestive of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) the preferred blood test to help physicians in making a diagnosis is cardiac troponin. Recent studies have demonstrated that a very low or undetectable cardiac troponin level when measured with the newest generation of blood tests (i.e., the high-sensitivity cardiac troponin tests) in this population may rule-out myocardial infarction (MI or a heart attack) on the initial blood sample collected in the emergency department, thus enabling a faster decision and foregoing the need for subsequent serial measurements of cardiac troponin over several hours as recommended by the guidelines. The problem with this approach, however, is that using high-sensitivity cardiac troponin alone to do this has not reliably been demonstrated to achieve a sensitivity >99% for detecting MI, which is the estimate that most physicians in this setting consider as safe for discharge. Our study goal was to compare the diagnostic performance of a simple laboratory algorithm using common blood tests (i.e., a clinical chemistry score (CCS) consisting of glucose, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and either high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I or T) to high-sensitivity cardiac troponin alone for predicting MI or death within the first month following the initial blood work. (more…)