Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk Stratification Based on Measurements of Troponin and Coronary Artery Calcium

Yader Sandoval, Suzette J Bielinski, Lori B. Daniels, Michael J. Blaha, Erin D. Michos, Andrew P. DeFilippis, Moyses Szklo, Christopher deFilippi, Nicholas B. Larson, Paul A. Decker, Allan S. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background: Low values of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) and coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores of zero are associated with a low risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate baseline hs-cTnT and CAC in relation to ASCVD. Methods: Baseline hs-cTnT (limit of detection [LoD] 3 ng/l) and CAC measurements were analyzed across participants age 45 to 84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease from the prospective MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) in relationship to incident ASCVD. Results: Among 6,749 participants, 1,002 ASCVD events occurred during a median follow-up of 15 years. Participants with detectable CAC (20.1 vs. 5.0 events per 1,000 person-years; adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 2.35; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.0 to 2.76; p < 0.001) and detectable hs-cTnT (15.4 vs. 5.2 per 1,000 person-years; adjusted HR: 1.47; 95% CI: 1.21 to 1.77; p < 0.001) had higher rates of ASCVD than those with undetectable results. Individuals with undetectable hs-cTnT (32%) had similar risk for ASCVD as did those with a CAC of zero (50%) (5.2 vs. 5.0 per 1,000 person-years). Together, hs-cTnT and CAC (discordance 38%) resulted in the following ASCVD event rates: hs-cTnT < LoD/CAC = 0: 2.8 per 1,000 person-years (reference), hs-cTnT ≥ LoD/CAC = 0: 6.8 per 1,000 person-years (HR: 1.59; 95% CI: 1.17 to 2.16; p = 0.003), hs-cTnT < LoD/CAC > 0: 11.1 per 1,000 person-years (HR: 2.74; 95% CI: 1.96 to 3.83; p < 0.00001), and hs-cTnT ≥ LoD/CAC > 0: 22.6 per 1,000 person-years (HR: 3.50; 95% CI: 2.60 to 4.70; p < 0.00001). Conclusions: An undetectable hs-cTnT identifies patients with a similar, low risk for ASCVD as those with a CAC score of zero. The increased risk among those with discordant results supports their conjoined use for risk prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 28 2020


  • atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
  • coronary artery calcium
  • high-sensitivity cardiac troponin
  • primary prevention
  • risk stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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