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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Nov;3(6):1628-36. doi: 10.2215/CJN.01480308.

D-dimer level and the risk for thrombosis in systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Patients who have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and manifest antiphospholipid antibodies (APA) are at increased risk for thrombosis; however, it is difficult to predict who will clot. This study tested the hypothesis that peak D-dimer level measured routinely during follow-up identifies whether a hypercoagulable state is developing and, therefore, the patient is at increased risk for thrombosis.

DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS:

One hundred consecutive patients who had SLE with recurrent activity (71% renal SLE) and were evaluated for or enrolled in the Ohio SLE Study were studied. D-dimer testing was done annually and usually at SLE flare or other serious illness. When D-dimer was elevated, evaluation for thrombosis (large vessel, small vessel, or Libman-Sacks) was undertaken. Mean follow-up was 37.5 +/- 15 SD months.

RESULTS:

Of those with peak D-dimer <0.5 microg/ml (n = 46), 0% thrombosed, 33% had APA. Of those with peak D-dimer 0.5 to 2.0 microg/ml (n = 19), 6% thrombosed, 44% had APA. Of those with peak D-dimer >2.0 microg/ml (n = 36), 42% thrombosed, 76% had APA. The most common causes of elevated D-dimer in the absence of demonstrable thrombosis were SLE flare and systemic infection. D-dimer levels were usually elevated for several months before thrombosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with SLE and normal D-dimer levels are at low risk for thrombosis, irrespective of APA status. Those with persistent unexplained elevated D-dimer levels, particularly when >2.0 microg/ml, are at high risk for thrombosis.

Comment in

PMID:
18945994
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2572289
Free PMC Article
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