High-Sensitive Cardiac Troponin T as an Early Biochemical Signature for Clinical and Subclinical Heart Failure: MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis)

Stephen L. Seliger, Susie N. Hong, Robert H. Christenson, Richard Kronmal, Lori B. Daniels, Joao A C Lima, James A de Lemos, Alain Bertoni, Christopher R. deFilippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Background: Although small elevations of high-sensitive cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) are associated with incident heart failure (HF) in the general population, the underlying mechanisms are not well defined. Evaluating the association of hs-cTnT with replacement fibrosis and progression of structural heart disease before symptoms is fundamental to understanding the potential of this biomarker in a HF prevention strategy. Methods: We measured hs-cTnT at baseline among 4986 participants in MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis), a cohort initially free of overt cardiovascular disease (CVD). Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was performed at baseline. Repeat cardiac magnetic resonance was performed 10 years later among 2831 participants who remained free of interim CVD events; of these, 1723 received gadolinium-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance for characterization of replacement fibrosis by late gadolinium enhancement. Progression of subclinical CVD was defined by 10-year change in left ventricular structure and function. Associations of hs-cTnT with incident HF, CV-related mortality, and coronary heart disease were estimated using Cox regression models. Results: Late gadolinium enhancement for replacement fibrosis was detectable in 6.3% participants without interim CVD events by follow-up cardiac magnetic resonance. A graded association was observed between higher baseline hs-cTnT categories and late gadolinium enhancement (≥7.42 ng/L versus <limit of detection [<3 ng/L]; adjusted odds ratio, 2.87; 95% confidence interval, 1.38-5.94). Higher hs-cTnT was also associated with a greater probability of an increase in LV mass >12% (highest category versus <limit of detection; odds ratio, 1.50; 95% confidence interval, 1.09-2.07), but not with decline in left ventricular ejection fraction. The risk of incident HF was greater for higher hs-cTnT (≥8.81 ng/L versus <limit of detection; adjusted hazards ratio, 5.59; 95% CI, 2.97-10.68). Conclusions: hs-cTnT levels are associated with replacement fibrosis and progressive changes in left ventricular structure in CVD-free adults, findings that may precede HF symptoms by years. Minor elevations of hs-cTnT may represent a biochemical signature of early subclinical cardiac disease, providing an opportunity for targeted preventive interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1494-1505
Number of pages12
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 18 2017


  • cardiovascular MRI
  • cardiovascular events
  • epidemiology
  • heart failure
  • troponin T

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'High-Sensitive Cardiac Troponin T as an Early Biochemical Signature for Clinical and Subclinical Heart Failure: MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this