Background: In a population originally classified for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) by the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, we compared the health outcomes after retrospectively reclassifying with the European Society of Cardiology and the American College of Cardiology (ESC/ACC) AMI definition, using the peak cardiac troponin I (cTnI) concentrations. The health outcomes were based on the WHO definition and occurred in an era that preceded the use of cardiac troponin biomarkers.
Methods: For 448 patients who presented to the emergency department with symptoms suggestive of cardiac ischemia in 1996, we obtained data for all-cause mortality and recurrent AMI for up to 1 year after the initial presentation. We performed retrospective analysis of the patients’ frozen plasma samples to measure cTnI (AccuTnI®, Beckman Coulter).
Results: At 30, 120, and 360 days, the risk for AMI/death in patients positive for AMI by only the ESC/ACC criteria was significantly lower than the risk in patients positive by both ESC/ACC and WHO criteria, and significantly higher than in patients negative according to both criteria. In a separate analysis, patients with a peak cTnI >0.10 μg/L were at greater risk for AMI/death than patients with cTnI concentrations of 0.04–0.10 μg/L. Patients negative by both definitions or with peak cTnI concentrations <0.04 μg/L had the highest event-free survival rates (92% and 94%, respectively) at 1 year.
Conclusion: In a troponin-naïve population, patients classified as positive for AMI by only the ESC/ACC criteria have a prognosis that appears to be intermediate between those classified positive by both the WHO and ESC/ACC definitions and those who meet neither criteria.