D-dimer assay predicts mortality in critically ill patients without disseminated intravascular coagulation or venous thromboembolic disease
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Objective: To determine if D-dimer predicts outcomes in critically ill patients. Design: Observational, cohort study. Setting: Medical intensive care unit (MICU) of a tertiary care hospital. Patients and participants: Seventy-four patients consecutively admitted to the MICU. Interventions: D-dimer was measured by latex agglutination within 12 h of admission to the MICU. Measurements and results: Of the study population, 43.2 % had positive D-dimers. The in-hospital mortality rate in D-dimer positive patients was 28.1 % as compared to 7.1 % in D-dimer negative subjects (p = 0.024). D-dimer positive patients had significantly greater frequencies of venous thromboses (21.9 % vs 4.8 %, p = 0.035). Conclusions: The D-dimer assay identifies patients at increased risk for mortality and may be a more sensitive test to determine the presence of underlying microvascular pathology in critically ill patients. A positive D-dimer at admission to the MICU is associated with an increased risk for the later development of a venous thromboembolic event (VTE).
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