D-dimer testing and acute venous thromboembolism. A shortcut to accurate diagnosis?

Arch Intern Med. 1996 May 13;156(9):939-46.


D-dimer fragments can be measured easily in plasma and whole blood, and the presence or absence of D-dimer could be useful in the diagnostic evaluation of venous thromboembolism. We systematically reviewed the English literature for articles that compared D-dimer results with those of other tests for deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Twenty-nine studies were selected for detailed review, and we noted wide variability in assay performance, heterogeneity among subjects, and failure to define absence or presence of venous thromboembolism by a comprehensive criterion standard for diagnosis. These methodologic problems limit the generalizability of the published estimates of D-dimer accuracy for deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, and the clinical utility of this potentially important test remains unproved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Immunosorbent Techniques
  • Latex Fixation Tests
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnosis*
  • Thrombophlebitis / diagnosis*


  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D