Associations of D-Dimer with Computed Tomographic Lung Abnormalities, Serum Biomarkers of Lung Injury, and Forced Vital Capacity: MESA Lung Study

Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2021 Nov;18(11):1839-1848. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.202012-1557OC.


Rationale: The coagulation cascade may play a role in the pathogenesis of interstitial lung disease through increased production of thrombin and fibrin deposition. Whether circulating coagulation cascade factors are linked to lung inflammation and scarring among community-dwelling adults is unknown. Objectives: To test the hypothesis that higher baseline D-dimer concentrations are associated with markers of early lung injury and scarring. Methods: Using the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) cohort (n = 6,814), we examined associations of baseline D-dimer concentrations with high attenuation areas from examination 1 (2000-2002; n = 6,184) and interstitial lung abnormalities from examination 5 computed tomographic (CT) scans (2010-2012; n = 2,227), and serum MMP-7 (matrix metalloproteinase-7) and SP-A (surfactant protein-A) from examination 1 (n = 1,098). We examined longitudinal change in forced vital capacity (FVC) from examinations 3-6 (2004-2018, n = 3,562). We used linear logistic regression and linear mixed models to examine associations and adjust for potential confounders. Results: The mean (standard deviation) age of the cohort was 62 (10) years, and the D-dimer concentration was 0.35 (0.69) ug/ml. For every 10% increase in D-dimer concentration, there was an increase in high attenuation area percentage of 0.27 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.08-0.47) after adjustment for covariates. Associations were stronger among those older than 65 years (P values for interaction < 0.001). A 10% increase in D-dimer concentration was associated with an odds ratio of 1.05 for interstitial lung abnormalities (95% CI, 0.99-1.11). Higher D-dimer concentrations were associated with higher serum MMP-7 and a faster decline in FVC. D-dimer was not associated with SP-A. Conclusions: Higher D-dimer concentrations were associated with a greater burden of lung parenchymal abnormalities detected on CT scan, MMP-7, and FVC decline among community-dwelling adults.

Keywords: D-dimer; coagulation cascade; interstitial lung disease; lung function; smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Injury*
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vital Capacity


  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D