Predictors of Stress-Delta High-Sensitivity Troponin T in Emergency Department Patients Undergoing Stress Testing.


Background and objective Elevations in high-sensitivity troponin T (hs-TnT) are frequently observed following extreme physical exercise. In light of this, we sought to determine whether specific clinical characteristics are associated with this phenomenon in patients undergoing cardiac exercise tolerance testing (ETT). Methods We conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospectively collected biospecimen repository of 257 patients undergoing a stress echocardiogram for possible acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Ischemic electrocardiogram (ECG) changes during ETT and the presence or absence of ischemia on imaging were determined by a board-licensed cardiologist. N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and hs-TnT assays were obtained immediately before and two hours following ETT. We developed linear regression models including several clinical characteristics to predict two-hour stress-delta hs-TnT. Variable selection was performed using the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO). Results The mean age of the patients was 52 years [standard deviation (SD): 11.4]; 125 (48.6%) of them were men, and 88 (34.2%) were African-American. Twenty-two patients (8.6%) had ischemia evident on echocardiography, and 31 (12.1%) had ischemic ECG changes during exercise. The mean baseline hs-TnT was 5.6 ng/L (SD: 6.4) and the mean two-hour hs-TnT was 7.1 ng/L (SD: 10.2). Age and ischemic ECG changes were associated with two-hour stress-delta hs-TnT values. Conclusions Based on our findings, ischemic changes in stress ECG and age were associated with an increase in hs-TnT levels following exercise during a stress echo.





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Publication Info

White, Emily J, Stephen J Susman, Andrew Bouffler, J Clancy Leahy, S Michelle Griffin, Robert Christenson, L Kristin Newby, Alexander Gordee, et al. (2022). Predictors of Stress-Delta High-Sensitivity Troponin T in Emergency Department Patients Undergoing Stress Testing. Cureus, 14(9). p. e29601. 10.7759/cureus.29601 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.

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