Normal high-sensitivity cardiac troponin for ruling-out inpatient mortality in acute COVID-19

Alexander Liu, Robert Hammond, Kenneth Chan, Chukwugozie Chukwuenweniwe, Rebecca Johnson, Duaa Khair, Eleanor Duck, Oluwaseun Olubodun, Kristian Barwick, Winston Banya, James Stirrup, Peter D. Donnelly, Juan Carlos Kaski, Anthony R. M. Coates*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Assessment of inpatient mortality risk in COVID-19 patients is important for guiding clinical decision-making. High sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) is a biomarker of cardiac injury associated with a worse prognosis in COVID-19. We explored how hs-cTnT could potentially be used in clinical practice for ruling in and ruling out mortality in COVID-19.


We tested the diagnostic value of hs-cTnT in laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients (≥18 years old) admitted to the Royal Berkshire Hospital (UK) between 1st March and 10th May 2020. A normal hs-cTnT was defined as a value within the 99th percentile of healthy individuals (≤14 ng/L), and an elevated hs-cTnT was defined as >14 ng/L. Adverse clinical outcome was defined as inpatient mortality related to COVID-19.


A total of 191 COVID-19 patients (62% male; age 66±16 years) had hs-cTnT measured on admission. Of these patients, 124 (65%) had elevated hs-cTnT and 67 (35%) had normal hs-cTnT. On a group level, patients with elevated hs-cTnT had worse inpatient survival (p = 0.0014; Kaplan-Meier analysis) and higher risk of inpatient mortality (HR 5.84 [95% CI 1.29–26.4]; p = 0.02; Cox multivariate regression) compared to patients with normal hs-cTnT. On a per-patient level, a normal hs-cTnT had a negative predictive value of 94% (95% CI: 85–98%) for ruling out mortality, whilst an elevated hs-cTnT had a low positive predictive value of 38% (95% CI: 39–47%) for ruling in mortality.


In this study cohort of COVID-19 patients, the potential clinical utility of hs-cTnT appears to rest in ruling out inpatient mortality. This finding, if prospectively validated in a larger study, may allow hs-cTnT to become an important biomarker to facilitate admission-avoidance and early safe discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0284523
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2023


  • COVID-19


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