“D-dimer” is a blood test used to help diagnose blood clotting disorders, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). It measures the level of a protein fragment called D-dimer, which is produced when a blood clot dissolves in the body. The test is relatively simple and non-invasive and can help healthcare providers determine if further testing or treatment is necessary.
When a blood clot forms in the body, it is a normal response to injury or damage. However, if the clot does not dissolve on its own, it can lead to serious health problems such as DVT, PE, or stroke. D-dimer is a fragment of fibrin, which is a protein that is involved in blood clot formation. When a blood clot breaks down, the fibrin is broken down into smaller fragments, including D-dimer. The presence of D-dimer in the blood indicates that there has been recent clot formation and breakdown.
The D-dimer test is usually performed on a blood sample, which is taken from a vein in the arm. The blood is sent to a laboratory for analysis, and the results are usually available within a few hours. In general, a higher level of D-dimer in the blood indicates a higher likelihood of a blood clot, although the test is not specific and can be elevated in other conditions as well, such as infection, inflammation, or cancer.
The D-dimer test is most commonly used in the evaluation of suspected DVT or PE. In patients with a low probability of DVT or PE, a negative D-dimer test can help exclude the diagnosis, as the test has a high negative predictive value. However, a positive D-dimer test is not definitive and requires further testing, such as ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan, to confirm the presence of a blood clot.
D-dimer testing is also used in other settings, such as evaluating patients with suspected disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a serious condition in which blood clots form throughout the body, or monitoring patients who are being treated with anticoagulant medications to prevent blood clots.
In conclusion, D-dimer is a blood test used to help diagnose blood clotting disorders, such as DVT and PE. It measures the level of a protein fragment called D-dimer, which is produced when a blood clot dissolves in the body. The test is relatively simple and non-invasive and can help healthcare providers determine if further testing or treatment is necessary. However, the test is not specific and can be elevated in other conditions as well, so it is important to interpret the results in the context of the patient’s clinical presentation and other diagnostic tests. If you have concerns about blood clotting disorders or other health issues, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate course of action.