In the evaluation of patients with possible acute coronary syndrome, serum troponin measurement is a critical determinant of myocardial necrosis. The recent implementation of high-sensitivity troponin assays allows detection of lower levels of serum troponin than possible with less sensitive predecessors. As a result, 30% more patients are diagnosed with myocardial injury but the optimal management of these patients is unclear. Guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend an invasive management strategy (Class 1a) but acknowledge that data supporting an invasive strategy were based on less sensitive troponin assays than those available today. Clinical trials of an invasive strategy in patients with detectable to minimally elevated troponin values demonstrate conflicting results. Observational data suggest aggressive medical therapy rather than increased use of revascularization drives improved outcomes in these patients. Meanwhile, these patients with minimally elevated serum troponin values have experienced a near doubling in the rate of invasive angiography. In short, it is uncertain whether patients with detectable to minimally elevated troponin results benefit from current invasive-based care strategies. As an alternative, cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging is highly accurate for detecting significant coronary disease and the need for coronary revascularization. In a paradigm where patients with elevated serum troponin detected with high-sensitivity troponin assays receive aggressive medical therapy, the hypothesis of this proposal is that a CMR-based strategy will improve outcomes in patients with detectable to minimally elevated serum troponin compared to an invasive-based guideline-adherent strategy (control) through more accurate selection for invasive management. The broad, long-term objective is to improve outcomes by optimizing healthcare delivery processes for patients with detectable to elevated serum troponin. To achieve this goal, we propose a clinical trial (n=312) involving emergency department patients with intermediate to high-risk chest pain and detectable to minimally elevated serum troponin within 6 hours of evaluation. Participants will be randomized to one of two care strategies: a) invasive-based guideline-adherent strategy, or b) CMR-guided. Outcomes will be assessed over an average of 2.3 years.
The specific aims of this proposal are 1) Test whether a CMR-guided strategy (versus invasive-based guideline-adherent strategy) reduces the composite of death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and cardiac-related hospital readmission over the study duration, and 2) Test whether a CMR-guided strategy (versus invasive-based guideline-adherent strategy) reduces invasive angiography, coronary revascularization, recurrent cardiac testing, and cardiac- related emergency department visits.

Public Health Relevance

An estimated 3 million patients each year have intermediate to high-risk chest pain, and the majority will have detectable to minimally elevated troponin results using contemporary high-sensitivity assays. In this rapidly expanding population, it is critical to determine whether these patients should be managed with an invasive- based guideline-adherent strategy or an improved selectively invasive strategy using highly accurate perfusion- based imaging. Improving outcomes in this large population by optimizing care delivery processes will have a sustaining, positive societal impact.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
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Clinical and Integrative Cardiovascular Sciences Study Section (CICS)
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Fleg, Jerome L
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Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Emergency Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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