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The role of D-dimers in the diagnosis of acute aortic dissection

Shao, Ning, Xia, Shan, Wang, Jia, Zhou, Xin, Huang, Zebo, Zhu, Wei, Chen, Yan
Molecular biology reports 2014 v.41 no.10 pp. 6397-6403
biomarkers, meta-analysis, models, patients, prognosis, prospective studies, screening
Acute aortic dissection (AAD) is a life threatening cardiovascular medical emergency with a poor prognosis. To explore the utility of D-dimers (DD) in the diagnosis of AAD, we performed a prospective study and conducted a meta-analysis of previous studies. 368 suspected patients were enrolled, including AAD n = 89, PE n = 12, AMI n = 167, normal controls n = 100. All patients had a DD test immediately after admission. We then performed a comprehensive computer search to identify studies investigating using DD as a screening tool for AAD. Finally, we pooled these data to estimate sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios (LRs) by using DerSimonian–Laird random-effects models. The DD concentrations in the AAD group were significantly higher than those in the AMI and normal control groups. However, the DD level of 500 ng/ml had a poor sensitivity of 51.7 % and specificity of 89.2 % in the diagnosis of AAD. Subgroup analyses found that DD only showed a well discriminative ability of distinguishing AAD patients from normal controls (specificity and positive LR was 97 % and 17.2, respectively). The pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative LR in our meta-analysis was 89, 68 %, 2.71, 0.07, respectively. In conclusion, our results suggest that plasma DD levels cannot add to the certainty of AAD diagnosis and it is not a good biomarker for AAD. In the future, prospective research on patients from many parts of the world is warranted to validate our findings. In addition, different controls, methods of plasma DD assays and other factors should be considered.