UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: When should troponin be ordered in a pediatric patient?

Keywords: Chest pain, ischemia, pediatrics, myocarditis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/19/2021 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 10/20/2021)
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Even though acute myocardial ischemia (AMI) does not present as commonly in the pediatric patient as in the adult and the literature is limited, it is reasonable to obtain a troponin when acute cardiac ischemia is suspected based on the history and physical exam. 

Recreational drugs including cocaine, amphetamine, cannabis, Spice, and K2 (cannabis derivatives) have been shown to result in myocardial injury including AMI. Coronary vasospasm secondary to drug use is well documented in the pediatric population. While cocaine use is a known risk factor for coronary vasospasm, the same condition has been reported in pediatric patients after marijuana use.

In a study of pediatric patients with blunt chest trauma, 3 of 4 patients with electrocardiographic or echocardiographic evidence of cardiac injury had elevations in troponin I above 2.0 ng/mL. Cardiac troponins are an accurate tool for screening for cardiac contusion after blunt chest trauma in pediatric patients even with limited data.

Cardiac troponins are also useful in the evaluation for myocarditis. In one study, myocarditis was the most common diagnosis (27%) in pediatric ED patients presenting with chest pain and an increased troponin. Eisenberg et al showed a 100% sensitivity and an 85% specificity for myocarditis using a troponin of 0.01 ng/mL or greater as a cut off.  A normal troponin using this cutoff can be used to exclude myocarditis. Abnormal troponin in the first 72 hours of hospitalization in pediatric patients with viral myocarditis is associated with subsequent need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and IVIg.

Bottom line: Troponin can be used in pediatric patients with clinical concern for cardiac ischemia, cardiac contusion and myocarditis

References

Brown JL, Hirsh DA, Mahle WT. Use of troponin as a screen for chest pain in the pediatric emergency department. Pediatr Cardiol. 2012;33(2):337-342. doi:10.1007/s00246-011-0149-8

Drossner DM, Hirsh DA, Sturm JJ, et al. Cardiac disease in pediatric patients presenting to a pediatric ED with chest pain. Am J Emerg Med. 2011;29(6):632-638. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2010.01.011

Thankavel PP, Mir A, Ramaciotti C. Elevated troponin levels in previously healthy children: value of diagnostic modalities and the importance of a drug screen. Cardiol Young. 2014;24(2):283-289. doi:10.1017/S1047951113000231

Yolda? T, Örün UA. What is the Significance of Elevated Troponin I in Children and Adolescents? A Diagnostic Approach. Pediatr Cardiol. 2019;40(8):1638-1644. doi:10.1007/s00246-019-02198-w

Adams JE, Dávila-Román VG, Bessey PQ, Blake DP, Ladenson JH, Jaffe AS. Improved detection of cardiac contusion with cardiac troponin I. Am Heart J. 1996;131(2):308-312. doi:10.1016/s0002-8703(96)90359-2

Hirsch R, Landt Y, Porter S, et al. Cardiac troponin I in pediatrics: normal values and potential use in the assessment of cardiac injury. J Pediatr. 1997;130(6):872-877. doi:10.1016/s0022-3476(97)70271-3

Eisenberg MA, Green-Hopkins I, Alexander ME, Chiang VW. Cardiac troponin T as a screening test for myocarditis in children. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2012;28(11):1173-1178. doi:10.1097/PEC.0b013e318271736c