At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
To see if you have had a heart attack or damage to your heart muscle
When to Get Tested?
Troponins are tested for if you are having chest pain that may be due to a heart attack. It shows whether a heart attack has occurred.
A blood sample taken from a vein in the arm
Test Preparation Needed?
No test preparation is required
The Test Sample
What is being tested?
Troponins are a type of protein found in skeletal and heart (also referred to as cardiac) muscle fibres. The three different types of troponin are troponin C (TnC), troponin T (TnT) and troponin I (TnI). Together, these three proteins regulate muscle contraction. The heart troponins which are called TnI and TnT, are not normally present in the blood. When there is damage to heart muscle, TnI and TnT are released into the blood. The more damage there is, the greater the release of TnI and TnT into the blood, and the higher the blood level when it is tested.
When a patient has a heart attack, levels of cardiac troponin can increase in the blood within 3 or 4 hours after the attack and may remain high for 10 to 14 days.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is taken by needle from a vein in the arm.
NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.
Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
No test preparation is required.
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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.