What does D-dimer testing measure in patients with suspected pulmonary embolism (PE)?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020
  • Author: Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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D-Dimer, a degradation product produced by plasmin-mediated proteases of cross-linked fibrin, is measured by a variety of assay types, including quantitative, semiquantitative, and qualitative rapid enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs); quantitative and semiquantitative latex; and whole-blood assays. A systematic review of prospective studies of high methodologic quality concluded that the ELISAs—especially the quantitative rapid ELISA—dominate the comparative ranking among the D-dimer assays for sensitivity and negative likelihood ratio. [47] The quantitative rapid ELISA has a sensitivity of 0.95 and negative likelihood ratio of 0.13; the latter is similar to that for a normal to near-normal lung scan in patients with suspected pulmonary embolism.

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