NYMC Faculty Publications

Evaluation of a D-Dimer Protocol for Detection of Venous Thromboembolism

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World Neurosurgery

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BACKGROUND: The use of venous duplex ultrasonography (VDU) for confirmation of deep venous thrombosis in neurosurgical patients is costly and requires experienced personnel. We evaluated a protocol using D-dimer levels to screen for venous thromboembolism (VTE), defined as deep venous thrombosis and asymptomatic pulmonary embolism.

METHODS: We used a retrospective bioinformatics analysis to identify neurosurgical inpatients who had undergone a protocol assessing the serum D-dimer levels and had undergone a VDU study to evaluate for the presence of VTE from March 2008 through July 2017. The clinical risk factors and D-dimer levels were evaluated for the prediction of VTE.

RESULTS: In the 1918 patient encounters identified, the overall VTE detection rate was 28.7%. Using a receiver operating characteristic curve, an area under the curve of 0.58 was identified for all D-dimer values (P = 0.0001). A D-dimer level of ≥2.5 μg/mL on admission conferred a 30% greater relative risk of VTE (sensitivity, 0.43; specificity, 0.67; positive predictive value, 0.27; negative predictive value, 0.8). A D-dimer value of ≥3.5 μg/mL during hospitalization yielded a 28% greater relative risk of VTE (sensitivity, 0.73; specificity, 0.32; positive predictive value, 0.24; negative predictive value, 0.81). Multivariable logistic regression showed that age, male sex, length of stay, tumor or other neurological disease diagnosis, and D-dimer level ≥3.5 μg/mL during hospitalization were independent predictors of VTE.

CONCLUSIONS: The D-dimer protocol was beneficial in identifying VTE in a heterogeneous group of neurosurgical patients by prompting VDU evaluation for patients with a D-dimer values of ≥3.5 μg/mL during hospitalization. Refinement of this screening model is necessary to improve the identification of VTE in a practical and cost-effective manner.


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