Consensus recommendations regarding the threshold levels of cardiac troponin elevations for the definition of perioperative myocardial infarction and clinically important periprocedural myocardial injury in patients undergoing cardiac surgery range widely (from >10 times to ≥70 times the upper reference limit for the assay). Limited evidence is available to support these recommendations.
We undertook an international prospective cohort study involving patients 18 years of age or older who underwent cardiac surgery. High-sensitivity cardiac troponin I measurements (upper reference limit, 26 ng per liter) were obtained 3 to 12 hours after surgery and on days 1, 2, and 3 after surgery. We performed Cox analyses using a regression spline that explored the relationship between peak troponin measurements and 30-day mortality, adjusting for scores on the European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation II (which estimates the risk of death after cardiac surgery on the basis of 18 variables, including age and sex).