Extensive evaluation of the instrumentation laboratory IL test D-Dimer immunoturbidimetric assay on the ACL 9000 determines the D-Dimer cutoff value for reliable exclusion of venous thromboembolism

N Curtin, G Highe, M Harris, A Braunstein, F Demattia, L Coss
Laboratory Hematology: Official Publication of the International Society for Laboratory Hematology 2004, 10 (2): 88-94
The clinical diagnosis of venous thromboembolism (VTE), which includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is often difficult and requires a number of imaging tests plus clinical assessment. It is now accepted that pretest clinical probability of disease plus a sensitive, quantitative D-Dimer assay can be used to reliably exclude VTE. In design of diagnostic strategies for VTE it is recommended that the D-Dimer assay be evaluated for sensitivity and specificity in well-designed, blinded studies using a cohort of patients for whom the assay will ultimately be used. Therefore we evaluated the IL Test D-Dimer on the ACL 9000 automated coagulation analyzer for its sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of VTE. A total of 512 patients admitted to the emergency department of Providence Hospital with suspected VTE were included in the dataset. Our aim was to find the clinically meaningful IL Test D-Dimer cutoff value, which would give us 100% sensitivity and the highest possible specificity for exclusion of VTE. Patients were categorized clinically into low, medium, or high pretest probability and had computed tomographic and/or ventilation-perfusion scans for investigation of PE and ultrasound studies for suspected DVT, with the laboratory blinded to the clinical findings. Of the 511 patients, 28 (5.4%) had confirmed VTE (PE and/or DVT) based on imaging and clinical studies. Applying receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis, we determined from our study that a cutoff value of 237 ng/mL IL Test D-Dimer gave a 100% sensitivity with a specificity of 38% for detection of VTE. The findings demonstrate that a diagnostic strategy using the IL Test D-Dimer assay as a first-line test in combination with pretest probability is safe and can be used in patients with suspected VTE. In conclusion, patient analysis results indicating low or moderate pretest probability for VTE and a negative IL Test D-Dimer (cutoff value of 237 ng/mL) assay result on the ACL 9000 reliably exclude VTE (both PE and DVT). We expect that inclusion of the rapid IL Test D-Dimer assay for assessment of suspected VTE in the emergency department at Providence will result in improved patient diagnosis and therapy, reduction in unnecessary radiological investigations, and lowering of overall costs associated with investigation of patients suspected of having VTE disease.

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