Only 1 in 10 patients with acute chest pain in the emergency department turn out to have an actual heart attack (myocardial infarction), yet many are not released from the hospital until after 6-12 hours of cardiac monitoring and multiple ECG and troponin tests. The search for a test that can rule out MI early in the process has proved elusive.
The Biomarkers in Cardiology-8 (BIC-8) trial, presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Amsterdam, was designed to determine the utility of the combination of troponin and copeptin testing. Copeptin is a marker of severe hemodynamic stress. After an acute MI copeptin levels increase rapidly. In earlier observational studies the combination test was found to have a negative predictive value of 99%.
902 patients with suspected ACS who were troponin negative were randomized to standard treatment or an experimental strategy in which patients with a negative copeptin test were discharged early. At 30 days there were no significant differences in the rate of major adverse cardiovascular events between the two groups: