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Myocardial infarction redefined: the new ACC/ESC definition, based on cardiac troponin, increases the apparent incidence of infarction
  1. J L Ferguson1,
  2. G J Beckett2,
  3. M Stoddart2,
  4. S W Walker2,
  5. K A A Fox1
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Department of Clinical Biochemistry, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Keith A A Fox, Cardiovascular Research, Department of Medical and Radiological Sciences, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9YW, UK;{at}


Objectives: To investigate the impact of the redefinition of the diagnostic criteria for myocardial infarction on its apparent incidence in a non-selected and representative series of patients admitted with acute chest pain.

Design: Single centre prospective study.

Setting: Medical assessment unit and cardiology wards of an inner city university hospital.

Patients: 80 consecutive patients aged over 25 years admitted with suspected ischaemic acute chest pain (excluding those where the ECG indicated definite myocardial infarction).

Interventions: Measurement of concentrations of conventional cardiac biomarkers (creatine kinase and its MB isoenzyme, CK-MB) and concentrations of the highly specific diagnostic indicator of myocardial damage, cardiac troponin I (cTnI) 12–24 hours after the onset of acute chest pain.

Main outcome measures: Frequency of myocardial infarction as assessed by conventional diagnostic criteria (creatine kinase and CK-MB) plus clinical symptoms of infarction, versus frequency of infarction based on high sensitivity troponin assays.

Results: Among patients with acute coronary syndromes but non-diagnostic ECG changes, 40% (32/80) fulfilled the new criteria for myocardial infarction using high sensitivity cTnI measurement, compared with 29% (23/80) using the conventional diagnostic criteria for myocardial infarction.

Conclusions: The implications of the redefinition of myocardial infarction on patients, their care, and the use of health care resources are substantial.

  • cardiac troponin I
  • myocardial infarction
  • epidemiology
  • ACC, American College of Cardiology, CK, creatine kinase
  • CV, coefficient of variation
  • ESC, European Society of Cardiology
  • WHO, World Health Organization

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