In hemodialysis patients, elevated plasma troponin concentrations are a common finding that has even increased with the advent of newly developed sensitive assays. However, the interpretation and relevance of this is still under debate.
In this cross-sectional study, we analyzed plasma concentrations of sensitive troponin I (TnI) and troponin T (TnT) in stable ambulatory hemodialysis patients (n = 239) and investigated their associations with clinical factors and mortality.
In all of the enrolled patients, plasma TnI or TnT was detectable at a median concentration of 14 pg/ml (interquartile range: 7–29) using the Siemens TnI ultra assay and 49 pg/ml (31–74) using the Roche Elecsys high sensitive TnT assay. Markedly more patients exceeded the 99th percentile for TnT than for TnI (95% vs. 14%, p<0.0001). In a multivariate linear regression model, TnT was independently associated with age, gender, systolic dysfunction, time on dialysis, residual diuresis and systolic blood pressure, whereas TnI was independently associated with age, systolic dysfunction, pulse pressure, time on dialysis and duration of a HD session. During a follow-up period of nearly two years, TnT concentration above 38 pg/mL was associated with a 5-fold risk of death, whereas elevation of TnI had a gradual association to mortality.
In hemodialysis patients, elevations of plasma troponin concentrations are explained by cardiac function and dialysis-related parameters, which contribute to cardiac strain. Both are highly predictive of increased risk of death.