Objectives High-sensitivity (hs) cardiac troponin (cTn) assays can quantitate small fluctuations in cTn concentration. Determining biological variation allows calculation of reference change values (RCV), to define significant changes. We assessed the short- and long-term biological variation of cardiac troponin I (cTnI) in healthy individuals and patients with renal failure requiring haemodialysis or cardiomyopathy. Methods Plasma samples were collected hourly for 4 h and weekly for seven further weeks from 20 healthy individuals, 9 renal failure patients and 20 cardiomyopathy patients. Pre- and post-haemodialysis samples were collected weekly for 7 weeks. Samples were analysed using a hs-cTnI assay (Abbott Alinity ci-series). Within-subject biological variation (CV I ), analytical variation (CV A ) and between-subject biological variation (CV G ) was used to calculate RCVs and index of individuality (II). Results For healthy individuals, CV I , CV A , CV G , RCV and II values were 8.8, 14.0, 43.1, 45.8% and 0.38 respectively for short-term, and 41.4, 14.0, 25.8, 121.0% and 1.69 for long-term. For renal failure patients, these were 2.6, 5.8, 50.5, 17.6% and 0.30 respectively for short-term, and 19.1, 5.8, 11.2, 55.2% and 1.78 for long-term. For cardiomyopathy patients, these were 4.2, 10.0, 65.9, 30.0% and 0.16 respectively for short-term, and 17.5, 10.0, 63.1, 55.8% and 0.32 for long-term. Mean cTnI concentration was lower post-haemodialysis (15.2 vs. 17.8 ng/L, p < 0.0001), with a 16.9% mean relative change. Conclusions The biological variation of cTnI is similar between end-stage renal failure and cardiomyopathy patients, but proportionately greater in well-selected healthy individuals with very low baseline cTnI concentrations.