Objectives: There is growing evidence that venous thromboembolism (VTE) patients with distal clots (distal calf deep vein thrombosis [DVT] and sub-segmental pulmonary embolism [PE]) may not routinely benefit from anticoagulation. We compared the D-dimer levels in VTE patients with distal and proximal clots. Methods: We conducted a multinational, prospective observational study of low-to-intermediate risk adult patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with suspected VTE. Patients were classified as distal (calf DVT or sub-segmental PE) or proximal (proximal DVT or non-sub-segmental PE) clot groups and compared with univariate and multivariate analyses. Results: Of 1752 patients with suspected DVT, 1561 (89.1%) had no DVT, 78 (4.4%) had a distal calf DVT, and 113 (6.4%) had a proximal DVT. DVT patients with proximal clots had higher D-dimer levels (3760 vs. 1670 mg/dL) than with distal clots. Sensitivity and negative predictive value (NPV) for proximal DVT at an optimal D-dimer cutoff of 5770 mg/dL were 40.7% and 52.1% respectively. Of 1834 patients with suspected PE, 1726 (94.1%) had no PE, 7 (0.4%) had isolated sub-segmental PE, and 101 (5.5%) had non-sub-segmental PE. PE patients with proximal clots had higher D-dimer levels (4170 vs. 2520 mg/dL) than those with distal clots. Sensitivity and NPV for proximal PE at an optimal D-dimer cutoff of 3499 mg/dL were 57.4% and 10.4% respectively. Conclusions: VTE patients with proximal clots had higher D-dimer levels than patients with distal clots. However, D-dimer levels cannot be used alone to discriminate between VTE patients with distal or proximal clots.
Singer, A. J., Zheng, H., Francis, S., Fermann, G. J., Chang, A. M., Parry, B. A., … Kabrhel, C. (2019). D-dimer levels in VTE patients with distal and proximal clots. American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 37(1), 33–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2018.04.040