Close-up of men's feet; tennis shoes running in a race.


For someone experiencing a heart attack, every second counts. Researchers are currently studying whether tests that detect lower levels of troponin in the blood may help physicians diagnose heart attacks sooner.

Troponin refers to a protein present in the body’s heart and skeletal muscle. Two subunits of this protein—cardiac troponin T (cTnT) and cardiac troponin I (cTnI)—are released into the blood when the heart muscle becomes damaged. Since elevated cTnT and cTnI levels can detect injury to the heart, they are the preferred biomarkers to help identify suspected heart attacks.

Troponin levels are measured with a blood test. In healthy individuals, troponin levels are barely detectable. But within six hours of having a heart attack, most people will have increased troponin levels, according to the National Institutes of Health. After 12 hours, almost all heart attack patients will have raised troponin levels.

When someone goes to the hospital with chest pain, the doctor will most likely perform a troponin test to help determine whether he or she has had a heart attack or if the pain is due to something else. While the troponin test is a powerful tool to help doctors diagnose heart attacks, increased troponin levels may also be due to other factors, such as an abnormally fast heartbeat, strenuous exercise or trauma to the heart from a car accident, to name a few.

There is ongoing research into new tests that detect even lower concentrations of troponin in blood. Preliminary results show that the ability to monitor very low levels of the protein may help doctors evaluate whether people are having a heart attack within two to four hours after presenting with symptoms. The hope is that by detecting elevated levels of troponin earlier, doctors may be able to diagnose and treat heart attacks sooner than before


National Institutes of Health. Troponin test. January 11, 2012.
Thygesen K, Alpert JS, Jaffe AS et al. Third universal definition of myocardial infarction. European Heart Journal. 2012; 33:2551-2567.
Anoop S, Mills, N, Griffiths M, et. al. High-sensitivity cardiac troponin and the underdiagnosis of myocardial infarction in women. Study presented at the ESC Congress 2013, September 4, 2013.

Information provided is for general background purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by a trained professional. You should always consult your physician about any healthcare questions you may have, especially before trying a new medication, diet, fitness program, or approach to healthcare issues.
  • share Share
  • print Print
  • download Download

You are about to exit for another Abbott country or region specific website

Please be aware that the website you have requested is intended for the residents of a particular country or region, as noted on that site. As a result, the site may contain information on pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other products or uses of those products that are not approved in other countries or regions.

The website you have requested also may not be optimized for your specific screen size.

Do you wish to continue and exit this website?


You are about to exit the Abbott family of websites for a 3rd party website

Links which take you out of Abbott worldwide websites are not under the control of Abbott, and Abbott is not responsible for the contents of any such site or any further links from such site. Abbott is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Abbott.

The website that you have requested also may not be optimized for your screen size.

Do you wish to continue and exit this website?