Combined use of pretest clinical probability score and latex agglutination D-dimer testing for excluding acute deep vein thrombosis

Takashi Yamaki, Motohiro Nozaki, Hiroyuki Sakurai, Yuji Kikuchi, Kazutaka Soejima, Taro Kono, Atsumori Hamahata, Kaya Kim
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2009, 50 (5): 1099-105

OBJECTIVE: Currently, the latex agglutination D-dimer assay is widely used for excluding deep vein thrombosis (DVT) but is considered less sensitive than the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based D-dimer test. The purpose of the present study was to determine if a combination of different cutoff points, rather than a single cutoff point of 1.0 microg/mL, on the latex agglutination D-dimer assay and the pretest clinical probability (PTP) score would be able to reduce the use of venous duplex ultrasound (DU) scanning in patients with suspected DVT.

METHODS: The PTP score and D-dimer testing were used to evaluate 989 consecutive patients with suspected DVT before venous DU scanning. After calculating the clinical probability scores, patients were divided into low-risk (< or =0 points), moderate-risk (1-2 points), and high-risk (> or =3 points) pretest clinical probability groups. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to determine the appropriate D-dimer cutoff point for each PTP with a negative predictive value of >98% for a positive DU scan.

RESULTS: There were 886 patients enrolled. The study group included 609 inpatients (68.7%) and 277 outpatients (31.3%). The prevalence of DVT in this series was 28.9%. There were 508 patients (57.3%) classified as low-risk, 237 (26.8%) as moderate-risk, and 141 (14.9%) as high-risk PTP. DVT was identified in 29 patients (5.7%) with low-risk, 118 (49.8%) with moderate-risk, and 109 (77.3%) with high-risk PTP scores. ROC curve analysis was used to select D-dimer cutoff points of 2.6, 1.1, and 1.1 microg/mL for the low-, moderate- and high-risk PTP groups, respectively. In the low-risk PTP group, specificity increased from 48.9% to 78.2% (P < .0001) with use of the different D-dimer cutoff value. In the moderate- and high-risk PTP groups, however, the different D-dimer levels did not achieve substantial improvement. Despite this, the overall use of venous DU scanning could have been reduced by 43.0% (381 of 886) if the different D-dimer cutoff points had been used.

CONCLUSIONS: Combination of a specific D-dimer level with the clinical probability score is most effective in low-risk PTP patients for excluding DVT. In moderate- and high-risk PTP patients, however, the recommended cutoff points of 1.0 microg/mL may be preferable. These results show that different D-dimer levels for patients differing in risk is feasible for excluding DVT using the latex agglutination D-dimer assay.

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