Surveillance and Management of Troponin Elevation after Vascular Surgery

Mrinal Shukla, Peter W. Callas, Julie A. Lahiri, Matthew J. Alef, Friederike K. Keating, Andrew C. Stanley, Georg Steinthorsson, David J. Schneider, Daniel J. Bertges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Postopertive troponin elevation may occur without typical or atypical cardiac symptoms and is associated with an increased 30-day morbidity and mortality. The objective of the study was to implement a quality improvement initiative of postoperative troponin surveillance algorithm aimed at intensifying medical management after vascular surgery. Methods: We conducted a single-center study of postoperative troponin surveillance after vascular surgery (n = 201) at a tertiary care, academic medical center from January to December 2016. Troponin surveillance was performed on postoperative days 1–3 after carotid endarterectomy, endovascular aortic repair, infrainguinal bypass, open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, peripheral vascular intervention, and suprainguinal bypass, regardless of cardiac symptoms. Patients with troponin I elevation (>0.034 ng/mL) were managed with a treatment algorithm which included single or dual antiplatelet (AP) agent, high-intensity statin therapy, smoking cessation consultation, and outpatient cardiology consultation and stress testing. Patients with troponin elevation ≥1.0 ng/mL received inpatient cardiology consultation. We assessed adherence to the protocol for intensification of best medical therapy defined as high-dose statin therapy, increase in AP therapy, and smoking cessation consultation according to the established algorithm. Results: Troponin elevation was recorded in 17% (34/201) of patients and was associated with cardiac symptoms in 8 patients (24%), while 26 (76%) patients had an asymptomatic abnormal troponin on postoperative surveillance. One patient was excluded due to death immediately after SUPRA, resulting in 200 patients. Troponin elevation ≥1.0 ng/mL occurred in 11 asymptomatic patients (5.5%). Any intensification of medical therapy was instituted in 76% of patients with elevated troponin and included high-intensity statin therapy (58%), increase in AP therapy (18%), and smoking cessation consultation (66%). Once an elevated troponin level was recognized, 52% of our patients received cardiology consultation with an increased likelihood (100%) in patients with troponin ≥1 ng/mL (P < 0.001). Adherence to outpatient stress testing was 66%. Intensification of medical therapy was not significantly different between patients with abnormal troponin values, >0.034–1.0 (n = 23) versus ≥1.0 ng/mL (n = 10); statin therapy (P = 1.0), AP (P = 0.34), and smoking cessation (P = 1.0). One-year mortality was higher in patients with postoperative troponin elevation than those with normal postoperative troponin levels (12% vs. 2.4%; P = 0.03). Conclusions: Routine postoperative troponin surveillance results in intensification of statin therapy in patients with asymptomatic troponin elevation. Further study is needed to determine if this approach reduces long-term cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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