Prognostic value of D-dimer in patients with pulmonary embolism

Thromb Haemost. 2006 Oct;96(4):478-82.


D-dimer levels appear to be associated with the extent of the thromboembolic burden in patients with pulmonary embolism (PE). We therefore hypothesized that D-dimer levels at admission would be associated with prospective risk of mortality in patients with PE. We used data from 366 patients diagnosed with PE at four hospital emergency departments. A highly sensitive D-dimer test was prospectively performed at admission. The outcome was overall mortality within three months. We divided patients into quartiles on the basis of their D-dimer levels and compared mortality rates by quartile. We estimated sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values for mortality in the first and fourth quartile. Overall mortality was 5.2%. Patients who died had higher median D-dimer levels than patients who survived (4578 versus 2946 microg/l; p = 0.005). Mortality increased with increasing D-dimer levels, rising from 1.1% in the first quartile (<1500 microg/l) to 9.1% in the fourth quartile (>5500 microg/l) (P = 0.049). Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of D-dimer levels <1500 microg/l to predict mortality were 95%, 26%, 7%, and 99%, respectively. Patients with PE who have D-dimer levels below 1500 microg/l have a very low mortality. Further studies must assess whether D-dimer, alone or combined with other prognostic instruments for PE, can be used to identify low-risk patients with PE who are potential candidates for outpatient treatment or an abbreviated hospital stay.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Embolism / blood*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Analysis


  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D