Myocardial Ischemia on Exercise Stress Echocardiography Testing Is Not Associated with Changes in Troponin T Concentrations


Background: Some posit that any amount of myocardial ischemia can be detected by high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays. We hypothesized that patients with myocardial ischemia induced by exercise stress would have significantly higher increases in high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) concentrations than patients without ischemia.Methods: We prospectively recruited for a biorepository 317 adult patients who presented to an academic hospital emergency department for evaluation possible ischemic symptoms and who were scheduled for exercise echocardiography. Blood samples were obtained before stress testing and 2-h post-testing. For this study, plasma hs-cTnT (Roche Diagnostics) concentrations were determined in a core laboratory blinded to clinical status. Absolute and relative changes between baseline and 2-h post-stress measurements were compared between patients with and without ischemia induced by stress testing.Results: The median age was 51 (44.0, 60.0) years, 45.9% were male, and 37.8% were African American. In total, 26 patients (8.1%) had myocardial ischemia induced by exercise. Median baseline, 2-h post-stress, and absolute δ concentrations were, respectively, 6.0, 8.0, and 0.2 ng/L for patients with evidence of ischemia; 3.8, 4.6, and 0.0 ng/L for those without; and 3.9, 4.9, and 0.0 ng/L overall. Baseline and 2-h hs-cTnT concentrations were higher among patients with abnormal stress tests (all P <=0.05), but absolute and relative changes in hs-cTnT concentrations were not significantly different between individuals with ischemia and individuals without.Conclusions: There was no evidence of change in hs-cTnT values in response to exercise stress testing, regardless of the presence of myocardial ischemia.






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Publication Info

Limkakeng, Alexander T, Weiying Drake, Yuliya Lokhnygina, Harvey P Meyers, Daniel Shogilev, Robert H Christenson and L Kristin Newby (2017). Myocardial Ischemia on Exercise Stress Echocardiography Testing Is Not Associated with Changes in Troponin T Concentrations. The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine, 1. pp. 532–543. 10.1373/jalm.2016.021667 Retrieved from

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Alexander Tan Limkakeng

Professor of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Alexander T. Limkakeng, Jr., MD, MHSc, FACEP is a Professor of Emergency Medicine, Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Director of the Acute Care Research Team, and Director of the Resident Research Fellowship for the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.


Dr. Limkakeng has served as chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Research Committee, and been the Course Director of the ACEP Research Forum from 2016-2018, the largest emergency medical research platform in the nation. He is also the Assistant Director of ACEP’s Emergency Medicine Basic Research Skills course. He was elected to the Nominating Committee of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine.


As a researcher, Dr. Limkakeng has led multiple clinical trials and interdepartmental sponsored projects and is author on over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts. These include studies in emergency conditions such as COVID-19, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, heart failure, thrombosis, stroke, envenomations, and septic shock. His research has been funded by grants totaling over $5 million dollars. He has lectured internationally on acute coronary syndrome, responsible conduct of research, design of clinical trials, and precision medicine in emergency care.  He has led Duke’s involvement in NIH-funded research networks and industry-funded work that led to FDA approval for multiple high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays. He now serves as Co-PI for the Duke U24 Hub in the NIH Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net) (1U24NS114416) and a co-PI on the Duke U24 Hub award (1U24NS129498) in the NIH Strategies to Innovate Emergency Care Clinical Trials (SIREN) Network.

His personal research interest is finding new ways to diagnose acute coronary syndrome. In particular, he is interested in novel biomarkers and precision medicine approaches to this problem. The common element throughout this work is a focus on time-sensitive health conditions.

Yuliya Vladimirovna Lokhnygina

Associate Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Statistical methods in clinical trials, survival analysis, adaptive designs, adaptive treatment strategies, causal inference in observational studies, semiparametric inference


Laura Kristin Newby

Professor of Medicine

Research Description

General Focus: Clinical investigation the process and treatment of acute and chronic coronary artery disease and systems issues for delivery of care to patients with these illnesses. Particular interests include management of patients with chest pain and unstable angina, evaluation of the use of biochemical markers other than CK-MB for diagnosis and risk stratification in these patients, issues related to coronary artery disease in women, and systems issues regarding optimizing the process of delivery of care to patients with acute and chronic coronary artery disease. Finally, I have a strong interest in defining the genetic contribution to development of coronary artery disease.

Key words: coronary artery disease acute myocardial infarction unstable angina chest pain women biochemical markers risk stratification genetics

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