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Background Patients presenting with atrial fibrillation (AF) often undergo a blood test to measure troponin, but interpretation of the result is impeded by uncertainty about its clinical importance. We investigated the relationship between troponin level, coronary angiography, and all-cause mortality in real-world patients presenting with AF. Methods and Results We used National Institute of Health Research Health Informatics Collaborative data to identify patients admitted between 2010 and 2017 at 5 tertiary centers in the United Kingdom with a primary diagnosis of AF. Peak troponin results were scaled as multiples of the upper limit of normal. A total of 3121 patients were included in the analysis. Over a median follow-up of 1462 (interquartile range, 929-1975) days, there were 586 deaths (18.8%). The adjusted hazard ratio for mortality associated with a positive troponin (value above upper limit of normal) was 1.20 (95% CI, 1.01-1.43; P<0.05). Higher troponin levels were associated with higher risk of mortality, reaching a maximum hazard ratio of 2.6 (95% CI, 1.9-3.4) at ≈250 multiples of the upper limit of normal. There was an exponential relationship between higher troponin levels and increased odds of coronary angiography. The mortality risk was 36% lower in patients undergoing coronary angiography than in those who did not (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.42-0.89; P=0.01). Conclusions Increased troponin was associated with increased risk of mortality in patients presenting with AF. The lower hazard ratio in patients undergoing invasive management raises the possibility that the clinical importance of troponin release in AF may be mediated by coronary artery disease, which may be responsive to revascularization.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of the American Heart Association

Publication Date





NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust London United Kingdom.