Jugoslovenska medicinska biohemija 2003 Volume 22, Issue 4, Pages: 303-309
doi:10.2298/JMH0304303I
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Strategy of IFCC standardization and use of cardiac markers in acute coronary syndromes

Ignjatović Svetlana

Although the use of troponin to diagnose acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has been previously proposed, the Committee on Standardization of Markers of Cardiac Damage (C-SMCD) of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) made a recommendation in 1999 to expand on the enzyme diagnostic criteria for AMI to include cardiac-specific proteins. In September 2000, a joint committee of the European Society of Cardiology and the American College of Cardiology (ESC/ACC) published a new definition of AMI that for first time officially included troponin. According to these criteria, as the best biochemical indicator for detecting myocardial necrosis is "a concentration of cardiac troponin exceeding the decision limit (defined as the 99th percentile of a reference control group) on at least one occasion during the first 24 hours after the onset of clinical event". The use of creatine kinase MB (CK-MB), measured by mass assays, is still considered as an acceptable alternative only if cardiac troponin assays are not available. It is very important to standardize the clinical use of troponin in diagnosis and management of acute coronary syndromes and to clearly define decision thresholds. Two strategies have competed as the most appropriate for the use of new markers. The first relies on the use of a combination of two markers - a rapid rising marker such as myoglobin, and a marker that takes longer to rise but is more specific, such as cardiac troponin - to enable detection of AMI in patients who present early and late after symptom onset. In the second strategy, only measurement of cardiac troponin is suggested. One of the most important problems in the practical use of the cardiac-specific troponin is the right definition of decision limits. As diagnostic cut-off for clinical use, the IFCC C-SMCD recommends for troponin assays a total imprecision, expressed as coefficient of variation (CV), of <10% at the 99th percentile of a reference control group. For troponin assays that cannot presently meet the 10% CV at the 99th percentile value, a predetermined higher concentration that meets this imprecision goal should be used as cut-off for AMI until the goal of a 10% CV can be achieved at the 99th percentile. It is very important that clinically relevant biomarker, such as cardiac troponin, on which critical decisions will rest, can be measured with highly reliable and standardized methods. There are problems in assay standardization, imprecision interference, and of pre-analytical variability. Cardiac troponin is currently the most sensitive and specific biochemical marker of myocardial damage and is the best marker for diagnosis, risk stratification, and guidance of therapy in acute coronary syndromes.

Keywords: cardiac troponin, standardization, acute coronary syndromes

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