Clinical probability assessment and D-dimer determination in patients with suspected deep vein thrombosis, a prospective multicenter management study

J L Elf, K Strandberg, C Nilsson, P J Svensson
Thrombosis Research 2009, 123 (4): 612-6

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the reliability of a combined strategy of clinical assessment score followed by a local D-dimer test to exclude deep vein thrombosis. For comparison D-dimer was analysed post hoc and batchwise at a coagulation laboratory.

DESIGN: Prospective multicenter management study.

SETTING: Seven hospitals in southern Sweden.

SUBJECTS: 357 patients with a suspected first episode of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) were prospectively recruited and pre-test probability score (Wells score) was estimated by the emergency physician. If categorized as low pre-test probability, D-dimer was analysed and if negative, DVT was considered to be ruled out. The primary outcome was recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) during 3 months of follow up.

RESULTS: Prevalence of DVT was 23.5% (84/357). A low pre-test probability and a negative D-dimer result at inclusion was found in 31% (110/357) of the patients of whom one (0.9%, [95% CI 0.02-4.96]) had a VTE at follow up. Sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value and negative likelihood ratio for our local D-dimer test in the low probability group were 85.7%, 74.5%, 98.2%, and 0,19 respectively compared to 85.6%, 67,6%, 97.9% and 0,23 using batchwise analysis at a coagulation laboratory.

CONCLUSION: Pre-test probability score and D-dimer safely rule out DVT in about 30% of outpatients with a suspected first episode of DVT. One out of 110 patients was diagnosed with DVT during follow up. No significant difference in diagnostic performance was seen between local D-dimer test and the post hoc batch analysis with the same reagent in the low probability group.

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