Podcast #249: D-Dimer - The Emergency Medical Minute

Author: Michael Hunt, M.D.

Educational Pearls

  • In the recent YEARS study, investigators checked every patient with suspicion for PE with a D-dimer, using a modified Wells score for risk stratification. The goal of the study was to show that CT scan usage could safely reduced using this screening method.
  • The Wells Criteria measures they used to stratify risk were: PE mostly likely dx, hemoptysis, and evidence of DVT. If the d-dimer was 1, but the patient had none of the Wells criteria, the patient did not get a CT. If the patient had any of the criteria, but the d-dimer was only 0.5, the patient did not get a CT scan.
  • The investigators reduced  CT usage by 14% using the new criteria, with no significant increase in morbidity and mortality.

References: van der Hulle et al. Simplified diagnostic management of suspected pulmonary embolism (the YEARS study): a prospective, multicentre, cohort study. The Lancet. 2017

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