High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin T (hs-cTnT) as a Predictor of Incident Diabetes in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study


Many individuals with prediabetes have evidence of subclinical myocardial damage and are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). If subclinical myocardial damage is independently associated with incident diabetes, this may contribute to the understanding of the association between diabetes and CVD. This study was conducted to determine whether high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) is associated with incident diabetes.


Using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox models, we prospectively analyzed 8,153 participants without known diabetes or CVD. We used the Harrell C statistic to investigate whether hs-cTnT added incremental prognostic information for diabetes prediction.


During a median of 13 years of follow-up, there were 1,830 incident cases of diagnosed diabetes. After adjustment for demographics and traditional risk factors, participants with a baseline hs-cTnT of 9–13 ng/L or ≥14 ng/L had a significantly increased risk for diabetes compared to those with an hs-cTnT of ≤5 ng/L, with hazard ratios of 1.14 (95% CI 0.99–1.33) and 1.25 (95% CI 1.03–1.53), respectively (P = 0.018 for trend). Linear spline modeling that included adjustment for baseline fasting glucose suggested an increased risk of incident diabetes for participants with hs-cTnT levels >8 ng/L. Furthermore, the addition of hs-cTnT to fully adjusted models that included glucose significantly improved the prediction of incident diabetes from 0.7636 to 0.7644 (P = 0.023).


Participants with elevated hs-cTnT levels at baseline had an increased risk of incident diabetes, suggesting that the measurement of hs-cTnT may incorporate an underlying pathophysiologic overlap between diabetes and CVD not captured by other traditional risk factors. Measurement of hs-cTnT may be useful to identify individuals at an increased risk for incident diabetes and CVD in order to provide early and more intensive risk factor modification.

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