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D-Dimer Blood Test

Last updated Sept. 29, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The D-Dimer Blood Test is a test to detect D-dimer in circulation. It is used to test for thrombosis and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Dimer Blood Test
  • FDF Blood Test
  • Fibrin Degradation Fragment Blood Test 

What is D-Dimer Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • D-dimer is a type of residual degradation product formed after a blood clot has been degraded. It is used to indicate recent blood clotting. This includes inappropriate blood clots within vessels, called thromboses
  • When a blood vessel is injured, a cascade of events is triggered that results in the formation of a blood clot. A blood clot consists of an interweaving protein, called fibrin, along with other proteins, cells, and platelets
  • The process of clot formation is tightly regulated to prevent excessive and inappropriate clotting. Plasmin is an enzyme that dissolves blood clots. This is called fibrinolysis. Plasmin degrades fibrin and creates fibrin degradation products, like D-dimer
  • D-dimer is present in blood in significant quantities, only when fibrin is being degraded. Thus, it indicates a blood clot
  • Clotting is essential for minimizing blood loss. However, problems with the circulatory system may lead to the formation of thrombosis within blood vessels. Thromboses are potentially deadly. They may impede blood flow to vital organs. They may also detach and lodge themselves in small blood vessels, cutting off circulation to an area. This is called embolism
  • The D-Dimer Blood Test is a test to detect D-dimer in circulation. It is used to test for thrombosis and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the D-Dimer Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a D-Dimer Blood Test:

  • Monitoring treatment for disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
  • Leg pain, swelling, tenderness, or discoloration
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Shock 

How is the Specimen Collected for D-Dimer Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for D-Dimer Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of a needle into an arm vein.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test. 

What is the Significance of the D-Dimer Blood Test Result?

The presence of D-dimer in blood may indicate:

  • Thrombosis
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) 

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. 

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Certain factors may interfere with the results of the D-Dimer Blood Test. These include rheumatoid arthritis and high blood lipid levels 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 10, 2014
Last updated: Sept. 29, 2018