OBJECTIVE: To determine the sensitivity and specificity of a quantitative plasma fibrin D-dimer latex immunoassay (LIA) for the diagnosis of acuta pulmonary embolism. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Study subjects were Mayo Clinic Rochester inpatients and outpatients with suspected acute pulmonary embolism; all had undergone quantitative D-dimer LIA testing and multidetector-row computed tomographic (CT) angiography between August 3, 2001, and November 10, 2003. Multidetector-row CT angiography was the diagnostic reference standard. RESULTS: Of 1355 CT studies, 203 (15%) were positive for acute pulmonary embolism. Median B-dimer levels were significantly higher for patients with acute pulmonary embolism (1425 ng/ml) than for patients without (500 ng/mL) (P<.001). Tlte highest specificity that optimizes sensitivity for acute pulmonary embolism was achieved by using a discriminant value of 300 ng/mL, which yielded a sensitivity of 0.94 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.89-0.97), a specificity of 0.27 (95% CI, 0.25-0.30), and a negative predictive value of 0.96 (95% CI, 0.93-0.98). CONCLUSION: The quantitative D-dimer LIA with a discriminant value of 300 ng/mL had high sensitivity and high negative predictive value but low specificity for the diagnosis of acute pulmonary embolism. On the basis of these results, we believe that a negative quantitative D-dimer LIA result and a low pretest probability of thromboembolism together are sufficient to exclude acute pulmonary embolism.
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