Elevated Cardiac Troponin to Detect Acute Cellular Rejection After Cardiac Transplantation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Zhengyang Liu, Luke A. Perry, Jahan C. Penny-Dimri, Michael Handscombe, Isabella Overmars, Mark Plummer, Reny Segal, Julian A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Cardiac troponin is well known as a highly specific marker of cardiomyocyte damage, and has significant diagnostic accuracy in many cardiac conditions. However, the value of elevated recipient troponin in diagnosing adverse outcomes in heart transplant recipients is uncertain. We searched MEDLINE (Ovid), Embase (Ovid), and the Cochrane Library from inception until December 2020. We generated summary sensitivity, specificity, and Bayesian areas under the curve (BAUC) using bivariate Bayesian modelling, and standardised mean differences (SMDs) to quantify the diagnostic relationship of recipient troponin and adverse outcomes following cardiac transplant. We included 27 studies with 1,684 cardiac transplant recipients. Patients with acute rejection had a statistically significant late elevation in standardised troponin measurements taken at least 1 month postoperatively (SMD 0.98, 95% CI 0.33–1.64). However, pooled diagnostic accuracy was poor (sensitivity 0.414, 95% CrI 0.174–0.696; specificity 0.785, 95% CrI 0.567–0.912; BAUC 0.607, 95% CrI 0.469–0.723). In summary, late troponin elevation in heart transplant recipients is associated with acute cellular rejection in adults, but its stand-alone diagnostic accuracy is poor. Further research is needed to assess its performance in predictive modelling of adverse outcomes following cardiac transplant. Systematic Review Registration: identifier CRD42021227861

Original languageEnglish
Article number10362
Number of pages13
JournalTransplant International
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2022


  • acute cellular rejection
  • cardiac troponin
  • heart transplantation
  • meta-analysis
  • systematic review

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