The troponin test measures the concentration of troponin in the blood. Troponin is a protein complex that enables muscle cells to contract in interaction with other components. Troponin is found in both skeletal muscle (muscles that can be controlled at will) and heart muscle.
The troponin test is intended to measure cardiac troponin (from the heart). A further distinction is made between the two subforms “Troponin I” and “Troponin T”. The measurement of “Troponin T hs” gives a highly sensitive result – many patients are recognized as such. When heart muscle cells are damaged, as may be the case with various diseases, there is an increase in troponin levels in the blood. The higher the increase, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.
When do I need a troponin test?
Indications for a troponin test are signs of heart or lung disease. For example, if a doctor or emergency medical personnel suspects a heart attack (myocardial infarction) or pulmonary embolism, the troponin test is usually always performed as well. If there are abnormalities in the ECG (electrocardiogram), a troponin test can also be requested to support the diagnosis. But even if the ECG – despite existing symptoms – is inconspicuous, the troponin value can be groundbreaking. Overall, troponin is a marker for any stress or damage to the heart muscle and should therefore always be collected if heart disease is suspected, whether acute or chronic.
Performing the test
There are different ways in which the test can be performed. However, the systems differ only in their handling and accuracy. Especially the quick tests are very easy to perform.
Patient’s blood must be dripped onto the test and then the result read off. If exact values are to be collected, this is usually done in a corresponding laboratory. Two antibodies are used in the test. One antibody binds to the troponin in the whole blood and intercepts it, while the other antibody generates the readable signal by binding to the complex formed.