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Age-Adjusted D-Dimer in the Prediction of Pulmonary Embolism: Does a Normal Age-Adjusted D-Dimer Rule Out PE?

  • Author(s): Ortiz, Jacob
  • Saeed, Rabia
  • Little, Christopher
  • Schaefer, Saul
  • et al.
Abstract

Risk assessment for pulmonary embolism (PE) currently relies on physician judgment, clinical decision rules (CDR), and D-dimer testing. There is still controversy regarding the role of D-dimer testing in low or intermediate risk patients. The objective of the study was to define the role of clinical decision rules and D-dimer testing in patients suspected of having a PE. Records of 894 patients referred for computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) at a University medical center were analyzed. The clinical decision rules overall had an ROC of approximately 0.70, while signs of DVT had the highest ROC (0.80). A low probability CDR coupled with a negative age-adjusted D-dimer largely excluded PE. The negative predictive value (NPV) of an intermediate CDR was 86-89%, while the addition of a negative D-dimer resulted in NPVs of 94%. Thus, in patients suspected of having a PE, a low or intermediate CDR does not exclude PE; however, in patients with an intermediate CDR, a normal age-adjusted D-dimer increases the NPV.

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