Background: Heart type fatty acid protein (HFABP) is a cytosolic protein released early
after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) even in the absence of myocardial necrosis.
Objectives: The purpose of this systematic review was to determine whether HFABP levels in patients
with suspected, or confirmed ACS, improve risk stratification when added to established
means of risk assessment.
Methods: We searched Medline, Pubmed and Embase databases from inception to July 2015 to
identify prospective studies with suspected or confirmed ACS, who had HFABP measured during
the index admission with at least 1 month follow up data. A prognostic event was defined as allcause
mortality or acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
Results: 7 trials providing data on 6935 patients fulfilled inclusion criteria. There were considerable
differences between studies and this was manifest in variation in prognostic impact of elevated
HFABP(Odds ratio range 1.2-15.2 for death). All studies demonstrated that HFABP provide unadjusted
prognostic information and in only one study this was negated after adjusting for covariates.
A combination of both negative troponin and normal HFABP conferred a very low event rate. No
study evaluated the incremental value of HFABP beyond that of standard risk scores. Only one
study used a high sensitive troponin assay.
Conclusion: There was marked heterogeneity in prognostic impact of HFABP in ACS between
studies reflecting differences in sampling times and population risk. Prospective studies of suspected
ACS with early sampling of HFABP in the era of high sensitivity troponin are necessary to determine
the clinical value of HFABP. HFABP should not currently be used clinically as a prognostic
marker in patients with suspected ACS.