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The Use of D-dimer Tests to Help Diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolisms

Jennifer Harris
Ohio Northern University

Blood clotting is a normal process in the body that results from numerous steps. Numerous proteins and enzymes are formed and used as the result of a blood clot. The process by which blood clots is called coagulation and the natural opposition is fibrinolysis. One product of the degradation of the clot is the D-dimer. Lab tests to detect the presence of D-dimer in plasma are used to help diagnose life threatening diseases such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms. For this study, D-dimer levels in plasma were determined. The purpose was to identify the level of D-dimer associated with deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolisms. The D-dimer test uses latex beads coated with an antibody to the D-dimer. Peptides, when mixed with the samples containing D-dimer, result in agglutination. The resulting agglutination produces a turbid solution. The amount of turbidity is proportional to the amount of D-dimer in the sample. Results from the D-dimer tests were added to retrospective data to obtain a sample group of n = 300. The data was used to determine a positive and negative predictive value using the appropriate formulas. This information can be used to minimize the use of additional expensive testing.

ONU Student Research Colloquium