Is there a place for heart-type fatty acid binding protein in the era of high-sensitive cardiac troponin T for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction? A systematic review

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Daniel M.F. Claassens *
Djura O. Coers
Thomas O. Bergmeijer
Dean R.P.P. Chan Pin Yin
Jurriën M. Ten Berg
(*) Corresponding Author:
Daniel M.F. Claassens |


Early recognition of myocardial infarction (MI) remains a challenge, especially in patients presenting with non-ST-segment elevation MI. Heart-type fatty acid binding protein (hFABP) has shown to be a more sensitive marker for myocardial necrosis as compared to non-high sensitive troponins (4th generation and older). However, since high sensitive troponin (hs TnT) assays are available, it is questionable whether hFABP still has value as a diagnostic tool for MI. A systematic search was conducted in Medline, Embase and Cochrane. After selecting the articles, they were assessed for risk of bias according to the QUADAS-2 criteria. Negative predictive value, positive predictive value, sensitivity and specificity were extracted or calculated if possible. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Overall, hs TnT showed higher sensitivity than hFABP, while hFABP had higher specificity. In patients presenting within 3 hours after onset of symptoms, sensitivity is low for both hFABP and hs TnT (19-63% vs 25-55%, respectively), while specificity seems higher for hFABP than for hs TnT (70-99% vs 57-86%, respectively). In these patients, the area under the curve for hs TnT is equal or better than that for hFABP (0.67-0.92 for hs TnT vs 0.69-0.85 for hFABP). The addition of hFABP to hs TnT did not improve sensitivity and specificity. This systematic review finds no advantage for using hFABP over hs TnT in either early presenting patients or overall. Furthermore, no advantage was found if a combination of hFABP and hs TnT was used for the diagnosis of MI.

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