Markers for Perioperative Myocardial Ischemia: What Both Interventional Cardiologists and Cardiac Surgeons Need to Know


  • Johannes Mair
  • Angelika Hammerer-Lercher



All novel markers of myocardial ischemia (ischemia-modified albumin, choline, unbound free fatty acids) lack cardiac specificity. Therefore, for the specific detection of myocardial ischemia selective blood sampling from an inserted coronary sinus catheter is needed, which limits the applicability of these markers in most clinical routine settings. In addition, the superiority of these novel markers over the calculation of myocardial lactate production, the current criterion standard for the laboratory diagnosis of myocardial ischemia, has not been demonstrated so far, and even comparative data is frequently lacking. Further the superiority of these new candidate markers over lactate determination for the diagnosis of myocardial ischemia in peripherally drawn blood samples has not been demonstrated either, and these novel parameters appear not to be a breakthrough for laboratory diagnosis of myocardial ischemia during or after percutaneous coronary interventions or coronary artery bypass grafting. The determination of cardiac troponin I or troponin T is the current criterion standard for the laboratory diagnosis of myocardial damage due to their higher sensitivities and specificities compared to creatine kinase isoenzyme MB. According to current knowledge, troponin increases in peripherally drawn blood samples must be regarded as an indicator of myocardial necrosis which, however, may be limited, only detectable by troponin and may be missed by creatine kinase isoenzyme MB determination. After on-pump coronary artery bypass grafting the generally applied troponin discriminator limits are not valid as there is limited, inevitable cardiac tissue damage occurring during the surgical procedure. Therefore, troponins are significantly increased after reperfusion of the arrested heart over values seen before bypass and also in patients without complications. Perioperative myocardial infarctions can be reliably identified by their characteristic troponin time courses, and both peak concentrations and time of peak values are diagnostic criteria. Troponin release is lower in off-pump compared to on-pump bypass surgery. Despite the controversy over the significance of troponin elevations after clinically uncomplicated and successful procedures, it is tempting to postulate that less myocardial damage as detected by troponin release is beneficial for the patient. After elective percutaneous coronary interventions, only troponin increases >8-fold the upper reference limit were associated with increased mortality in long-term follow-up.


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How to Cite

Mair, J., & Hammerer-Lercher, A. (2005). Markers for Perioperative Myocardial Ischemia: What Both Interventional Cardiologists and Cardiac Surgeons Need to Know. The Heart Surgery Forum, 8(5), E319-E325.