Excluding venous thromboembolism using point of care D-dimer tests in outpatients: a diagnostic meta-analysis

BMJ. 2009 Aug 14;339:b2990. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b2990.


Objective: To review the evidence on the diagnostic accuracy of the currently available point of care D-dimer tests for excluding venous thromboembolism.

Design: Systematic review of research on the accuracy of point of care D-dimer tests, using bivariate regression to examine sources of variation and to estimate sensitivity and specificity.

Data sources: Studies on the diagnostic accuracy of point of care D-dimer tests published between January 1995 and September 2008 and available in either Medline or Embase. Review methods The analysis included studies that compared point of care D-dimer tests with predefined reference criteria for venous thromboembolism, enrolled consecutive outpatients, and allowed for construction of a 2x2 table.

Results: 23 studies (total number of patients 13 959, range in mean age 38-65 years, range of venous thromboembolism prevalence 4-51%) were included in the meta-analysis. The studies reported two qualitative point of care D-dimer tests (SimpliRED D-dimer (n=12) and Clearview Simplify D-dimer (n=7)) and two quantitative point of care D-dimer tests (Cardiac D-dimer (n=4) and Triage D-dimer (n=2)). Overall sensitivity ranged from 0.85 (95% confidence interval 0.78 to 0.90) to 0.96 (0.91 to 0.98) and overall specificity from 0.48 (0.33 to 0.62) to 0.74 (0.69 to 0.78). The two quantitative tests Cardiac D-dimer and Triage D-dimer scored most favourably.

Conclusions: In outpatients suspected of venous thromboembolism, point of care D-dimer tests can contribute important information and guide patient management, notably in low risk patients (that is, those patients with a low score on a clinical decision rule).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Point-of-Care Systems / standards*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Venous Thromboembolism / diagnosis*


  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D