Diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis with D-dimer adjusted to clinical probability: prospective diagnostic management study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Abstract Objective To evaluate the safety and efficiency of a diagnostic algorithm for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that uses clinical pretest probability based D-dimer thresholds to exclude DVT. Design Prospective diagnostic management study. Setting University based emergency departments or outpatient clinics in Canada. Participants Patients with symptoms or signs of DVT. Intervention DVT was considered excluded without further testing by Wells low clinical pretest probability and D-dimer <1000 ng/mL or Wells moderate clinical pretest probability and D-dimer <500 ng/mL. All other patients had proximal ultrasound imaging. Repeat proximal ultrasonography was restricted to patients with initially negative ultrasonography, low or moderate clinical pretest probability, and D-dimer >3000 ng/mL or high clinical pretest probability and D-dimer >1500 ng/mL. If DVT was not diagnosed, patients did not receive anticoagulant treatment. Main outcome measure Symptomatic venous thromboembolism at three months. Results 1508 patients were enrolled and analysed, of whom 173 (11.5%) had DVT on scheduled diagnostic testing. Of the 1275 patients with no proximal DVT on scheduled testing who did not receive anticoagulant treatment, eight (0.6%, 95% confidence interval 0.3% to 1.2%) were found to have venous thromboembolism during follow-up. Compared with a traditional DVT testing strategy, this diagnostic approach reduced the need for ultrasonography from a mean of 1.36 scans/patient to 0.72 scans/patient (difference −0.64, 95% confidence interval −0.68 to −0.60), corresponding to a relative reduction of 47%. Conclusions The diagnostic strategy using a combination of clinical pretest probability and D-dimer identified a group of patients at low risk for DVT during follow-up while substantially reducing the need for ultrasound imaging. Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02038530 .


  • Kearon, Clive
  • de Wit, Kerstin
  • Parpia, Sameer
  • Schulman, Sam
  • Spencer, Frederick A
  • Sharma, Sangita
  • Afilalo, Marc
  • Kahn, Susan R
  • Le Gal, Gregoire
  • Shivakumar, Sudeep
  • Bates, Shannon
  • Wu, Cynthia
  • Lazo-Langner, Alejandro
  • D'Aragon, Frédérick
  • Deshaies, Jean-François
  • Spadafora, Luciana
  • Julian, Jim A

publication date

  • February 15, 2022