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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 491-499

Effectiveness of D-dimer as a screening test for venous thromboembolism: An update


1 Department of Research, Health East Care System, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
2 Department of Internal Medicine, Health East Care System, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

Correspondence Address:
Murali Krishna Gurram
Department of Internal Medicine, Health East Care System, Saint Paul, Minnesota
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1947-2714.143278

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Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among hospitalized patients. We searched the PubMed database and reviewed the articles published until June 2011. Articles related to the D-dimer and VTE were considered to write this paper. Many factors play a key role in changing the sensitivity and specificity of D-dimer testing, including the extent of thrombosis and fibrinolytic activity, duration of symptoms, anticoagulant therapy, comorbidity due to surgical or medical illnesses, inflammatory diseases, cancer, elderly age, pregnancy and the postpartum period, and previous VTE. Many previous studies have shown that the D-dimer test is highly sensitive (>95%) in acute deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, usually with a cut-off value of 500 μg FEU/l, which reasonably rules out acute VTE, particularly in patients with low clinical probability (LCP) or intermediate clinical probability. Patients with high D-dimer levels upon presentation may prompt a more intense diagnostic approach, irrespective of pretest probability. Studies performed after a negative D-dimer for 3 months proved the high negative predictive value (NPV) of D-dimer testing together with LCP in patients with suspected VTE. Among oncology patients, D-dimer testing has the highest sensitivity and NPV in excluding VTE. The new cutoff values of D-dimer testing were analyzed in a recent prospective study of pregnant women; they are 286 ng DDU/ml, 457 ng DDU/ml, and 644 ng DDU/ml for the first, second, and third trimesters, respectively.


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