Predictive value of D-dimer test for recurrent venous thromboembolism after anticoagulation withdrawal in subjects with a previous idiopathic event and in carriers of congenital thrombophilia

Gualtiero Palareti, Cristina Legnani, Benilde Cosmi, Lelia Valdré, Barbara Lunghi, Francesco Bernardi, Sergio Coccheri
Circulation 2003 July 22, 108 (3): 313-8

BACKGROUND: We have shown that normal D-dimer levels obtained after the discontinuation of oral anticoagulant treatment (OAT) has a high negative predictive value for recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE). The aim of the present study was to assess the predictive value of D-dimer for recurrent VTE in subjects with a previous unprovoked event who are either carriers of inherited thrombophilia or not.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We prospectively evaluated 599 patients (301 males) with a previous VTE episode. They were repeatedly examined for D-dimer levels after OAT withdrawal and were screened for inherited thrombophilic alterations. Alterations were detected in 130 patients (21.7%), factor V Leiden (70 patients; 2 of whom were homozygotes) and prothrombin mutation (38 patients) were the most prevalent ones. Recurrent events were recorded in 58 subjects (9.7%) during a follow-up of 870.7 patient-years. Altered D-dimer levels at 1 month after OAT withdrawal were associated with a higher rate of subsequent recurrence in all subjects investigated, especially in those with an unprovoked qualifying VTE event (hazard ratio, 2.43; 95% confidence interval, 1.18 to 4.61) and in those with thrombophilia (hazard ratio, 8.34; 95% confidence interval, 2.72 to 17.43). The higher relative risk for recurrence of altered D-dimer was confirmed by multivariate analysis after adjustment for other risk factors. The negative predictive value of D-dimer was 92.9% and 95.8% in subjects with an unprovoked qualifying event or with thrombophilia, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: D-dimer levels measured 1 month after OAT withdrawal have a high negative predictive value for recurrence in subjects with unprovoked VTE who are either carriers or not carriers of congenital thrombophilia.

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