Myocardial injury after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is defined as troponin concentrations >10 times 99th percentile upper reference limit (URL) according to the Fourth Universal Definition. However, troponin concentrations after non-CABG cardiac surgery which indicate greater-than-expected myocardial injury and increased risk for complications remain unclear. Our goal was to assess procedure-specific relationships between troponin T and a composite outcome of low cardiac output syndrome and in-hospital mortality in cardiac surgical patients.
Patients having cardiac surgery between January 2010 and December 2017 were categorized into 4 groups by procedure: (1) CABG; (2) mitral valve repair; (3) aortic valve repair/replacement (AVR); (4) mitral valve replacement (MVR) or CABG + valve surgeries. Exclusion criteria were elevated preoperative troponin T, preoperative kidney failure, circulatory arrest, or preoperative/planned mechanical circulatory support. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between troponin T and composite outcome, both overall and by procedure, including assessment of the interaction between procedure and troponin T on outcome.
Among 10,253 patients, 37 (0.4%) died and 393 (3.8%) developed the primary outcome. Troponin T concentrations differed by procedure (P < .001). Compared to CABG, AVR had 0.53 (99.2% confidence interval [CI], 0.50–0.56; unadjusted P < .001) times lower troponin T concentrations, while MVR/CABG + valve were 1.54 (99.2% CI, 1.45–1.62, unadjusted P < .001) times higher. There were linear relationships between log2 troponin T concentration and log odds mortality/low cardiac output syndrome. The (unadjusted) relationships were parallel for various types of surgery (interaction P = .59), but at different levels of the outcome.
The relative increase in odds for mortality/low cardiac output syndrome per a similar increase in troponin T concentrations did not differ among cardiac surgical procedures, but the absolute troponin T concentrations did. Troponin concentrations should thus be interpreted in context of surgical procedure.