Decrease in sensitivity of D-dimer for acute venous thromboembolism after starting anticoagulant therapy

F Couturaud, C Kearon, S M Bates, J S Ginsberg
Blood Coagulation & Fibrinolysis: An International Journal in Haemostasis and Thrombosis 2002, 13 (3): 241-6
D-dimer testing is useful for the exclusion of acute venous thromboembolism (VTE). Anticoagulant therapy is expected to reduce D-dimer levels in patients with thrombosis and, consequently, it may not be safe to use D-dimer levels to exclude VTE after anticoagulant therapy has been started. The objectives of this study were to estimate the decrease in D-dimer levels after 24 h of heparin therapy and, applying this estimate to the results of a recent study, to calculate the expected reduction in sensitivity. Using pre-defined criteria, we first performed a literature review to determine whether, and by how much, D-dimer levels decrease within 24 h of starting heparin therapy in patients with acute VTE. Using D-dimer levels that were measured in a prospective study of patients with confirmed deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism as baselines, we then determined the change in sensitivity (and specificity) that would result from the fall in D-dimer levels that the literature review suggested would have occurred after 24 h of heparin therapy. On the basis of the literature review, we calculated that mean D-dimer levels decrease by 25%, 24 h after starting heparin therapy in patients with acute VTE. This 25% decrease in D-dimer levels resulted in a decrease in sensitivity from 95.6% (95% confidence interval, 90.0-98.6) to 89.4% (95% confidence interval, 83.7-95.1). There is a decrease in D-dimer levels in patients with acute VTE 24 h after starting heparin therapy that is expected to result in a clinically important drop in sensitivity.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"