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BACKGROUND: High-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays can help to identify patients who are at low risk of myocardial infarction in the emergency department. We aimed to determine whether the addition of clinical risk scores would improve the safety of early rule-out pathways for myocardial infarction. METHODS: In 1935 patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of 2 rule-out pathways alone or in conjunction with low-risk TIMI (Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction) (0 or 1), GRACE (Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events) (≤108), EDACS (Emergency Department Assessment of Chest Pain Score) (<16), or HEART (History, ECG, Age, Risk factors, Troponin) (≤3) scores. The European Society of Cardiology 3-hour pathway uses a single diagnostic threshold (99th percentile), whereas the High-STEACS (High-Sensitivity Troponin in the Evaluation of Patients With Acute Coronary Syndrome) pathway applies different thresholds to rule out (<5 ng/L) and rule in (>99th percentile) myocardial infarction. RESULTS: Myocardial infarction or cardiac death during the index presentation or at 30 days occurred in 14.3% of patients (276/1935). The European Society of Cardiology pathway ruled out 70%, with 27 missed events giving a negative predictive value of 97.9% (95% CI, 97.1-98.6). The addition of a HEART score ≤3 reduced the proportion ruled out by the European Society of Cardiology pathway to 25% but improved the negative predictive value to 99.7% (95% CI, 99.0-100; P<0.001). The High-STEACS pathway ruled out 65%, with 3 missed events for a negative predictive value of 99.7% (95% CI, 99.4-99.9). No risk score improved the negative predictive value of the High-STEACS pathways, but all reduced the proportion ruled out (24% to 47%; P<0.001 for all). CONCLUSIONS: Clinical risk scores significantly improved the safety of the European Society of Cardiology 3-hour pathway, which relies on a single cardiac troponin threshold at the 99th percentile to rule in and rule out myocardial infarction. Where lower thresholds are used to rule out myocardial infarction, as applied in the High-STEACS pathway, risk scores halve the proportion of patients ruled out without improving safety. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: . Unique identifier: NCT01852123.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1654 - 1665


high-sensitivity troponin, risk stratification, Acute Coronary Syndrome, Adult, Aged, Biomarkers, Decision Support Techniques, Emergency Service, Hospital, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Predictive Value of Tests, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Time Factors, Troponin I