Numerous studies have reported correlations between plasma microRNA signatures and cardiovascular disease. MicroRNA-133a (Mir-133a) has been researched extensively for its diagnostic value in acute myocardial infarction (AMI). While initial results seemed promising, more recent studies cast doubt on the diagnostic utility of Mir-133a, calling its clinical prospects into question. Here, the diagnostic potential of Mir-133a was analyzed using data from multiple papers. Medline, Embase, and Web of Science were systematically searched for publications containing “Cardiovascular Disease”, “MicroRNA”, “Mir-133a” and their synonyms. Diagnostic performance was assessed using area under the summary receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC), while examining the impact of age, sex, final diagnosis, and time. Of the 753 identified publications, 9 were included in the quantitative analysis. The pooled AUC for Mir-133a was 0.73. Analyses performed separately on studies using healthy vs. symptomatic controls yielded pooled AUCs of 0.89 and 0.68, respectively. Age and sex were not found to significantly affect diagnostic performance. Our findings indicate that control characteristics and methodological inconsistencies are likely the causes of incongruent reports, and that Mir-133a may have limited use in distinguishing symptomatic patients from those suffering AMI. Lastly, we hypothesized that Mir-133a may find a new use as a risk stratification biomarker in patients with specific subsets of non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).
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