BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE Elevated high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) levels are associated with coronary disease and small-vessel ischemic stroke through their associations with atherosclerosis. Considering the relationship between atherosclerosis and cerebral microbleeds (CMBs), the purpose of this study was to examine associations between serum hs-cTnT levels and risk of CMBs in acute ischemic stroke patients. METHODS This prospective study involved consecutively recruited acute ischemic stroke patients with atrial fibrillation and/or rheumatic heart disease treated at a large tertiary care hospital in southwestern China. Clinico-demographic data were collected and analyzed by logistic regression to identify the relationship between serum hs-cTnT levels and CMB occurrence and location. RESULTS In the final analysis, of 66 patients (27 males; mean age, 68.7years), 39 (59.1%) had CMBs. Hs-cTnT levels were not associated with risk of strictly lobar CMBs. However, after adjusting age, sex, current alcohol consumption, total cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, prior antithrombotic therapy and NIHSS on admission, patients in the higher tertile were more likely to have CMBs and deep or infratentorial CMBs (P<0.05) compared with the lower hs-cTnT tertile. CONCLUSION Hs-cTnT may be an independent predictor for the occurrence of CMBs, particularly of deep or infratentorial CMBs. This finding justifies further research into how hs-cTnT levels may contribute to CMBs and potentially other subclinical small-vessel diseases.