This test measures D-Dimer Levels in the blood. D-Dimer is a type of protein fragment which is typically produced when a blood clot dissolves. Normally D-Dimer is undetectable unless blood clots are forming and breaking down in a person's body. One of the most common conditions which causes abnormal blood clot formation is Deep Vein Thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis causes the formation of blood clots, most commonly in the legs, which can cause pain swelling and tissue damage. Clots which form in the coronary arteries can cause heart attacks and pieces on clots may break off and travel to other parts of the body which can cause pulmonary embolisms or stroke. D-Dimer may also be measured in someone suspected of having a condition known as Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation which causes the body to form numerous small blood clots which use up the body's clotting factors and leaves a person vulnerable to excessive bleeding.
The D-Dimer test is commonly used to help a doctor rule out Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism as the cause of a person's symptoms. These symptoms can include pain, swelling or discoloration of the legs, chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heart beat and coughing with blood. Because elevated D-Dimer levels can be caused by a number of conditions, the results of this test should be interpreted along with other test results by a person's doctor before any diagnosis is made.
D-Dimer can also be ordered when a person has symptoms of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)such as bleeding gums, nausea, vomiting, muscle and abdominal pain or seizures. In these cases, it is often done with other tests such as a Prothrombin Time (PT INR), Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT) and Complete Blood Count (CBC). D-Dimer can be useful for monitoring people being treated for DIC as well.
Turnaround for this test is typically 1-3 business days.
Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.
This test is not appropriate for ruling out clotting issues for pediatric patients. Results for people undergoing anticoagulant therapy should be interpreted with caution because D-Dimer levels do not tend to increase to the same degree as in people not receiving anticoagulants. Levels can be increased in individuals with cancer, underlying inflammation, atherosclerotic vascular disease, pregnancy, and in liver disease due to decreased hepatic clearance. Levels increase with age.
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