Although measurement of cardiac troponin I (cTnI) is, in some situations, more specific for detection of cardiac injury than is measurement of the MB isoenzyme of creatine kinase (MBCK), its sensitivity and specificity relative to MBCK for detection of myocardial infarction has not been established. Accordingly, we studied prospectively 199 consecutive patients admitted to the coronary care unit. Values of MBCK and cTnI mass were determined in all samples. Of the 188 patients admitted with a suspicion of acute myocardial ischemia, 89 were diagnosed as having an acute myocardial infarction on the basis of the patterns of MBCK values. Eighty-six of these patients also had increased cTnI (concordance, 96.6%); three did not. Of the patients diagnosed as without infarction, five with unstable angina and symptoms in the day(s) prior to admission had increased cTnI, for a cTnI specificity of 94.9%. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis indicated that cTnI and MBCK had statistically indistinguishable diagnostic accuracies for the detection of acute myocardial infarction.