Published Mar 24, 2005
Can anyone explain to me what this test is?? My lab book just confuses me more than I was to begin with. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad though because the doc that had my pt didn't even know what is was
Did you Google?
Here's one Google result.
I never heard of it. Of course labs are a weak spot for me.
Go to http://www.emedicine.com and sign up...I think it's free. Lots of good (and clear) information about it...just do a search for "d dimer" on their site.
In a very small nutshell, the d dimer can be used when you're working someone up for a clot...DVT, PE, etc. An elevated d dimer level correlates with a clot.
Antikigirl, ASN, RN
Here is something I found on D dimer tests.
A d-dimer test helps determine whether a person's blood is clotting normally.
Abnormal blood clotting can block blood flow in a vein; it can also lead to complications such as pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot becomes lodged in the pulmonary artery (the artery that leads from the heart to the lungs). High d-dimer levels may indicate that a person has a newly formed blood clot in the body, but cannot specifically lead a doctor to a diagnosis. Many conditions often have high d-dimer levels, such as cancer, pneumonia, heart attack, or chronic heart failure.
Low d-dimer test results usually mean there is not a blood clot in the body.
(Some of the research I did really warns that this test is a preliminary test, and sometimes non specific test, and that other tests really need to be done to back up D dimer test results...)
Gosh, the coagulation cascade is sooooo complicated.
The D dimer is that part of the coag casacade that deals with fibrin degredation or the breakdown/lysis of clots. This is a very similar test to the Fibrin Split or Fibrin Degredation Product (FSP or FDP) but where the FSP measures fragments of a single strand of fibrin, the d dimer measures fragments of groups of strands.
This test is never ordered on it's own. On my unit it's most often ordered in a panel of coag's to help determine if a patient is suspected to be in DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy) or HIT (heparin induced thrombocytopenia). Usually our lab cancels the test though because the FSP test determines practically the same thing.
I was thinking about that when I took my pharm final the other day. During pharm we had covered blood products.
So, let's see:
Factor III can be found in platelets
Factor V and VIII can be found in plasma
And cryoprecipitate is just VIII.
Whew. That and the complement cascade...yikes!!!
I'm ALWAYS floored when I go to a class lead by our unit's CNS. We do heart and lung transplants and the complement cascade is heavily involved in the intracacies of the immune system which of course is highly involved in transplantation. She just fires off detailed information like she's describing something as simple as the path blood takes when traveling through the four chambers of the heart! My head spins. How on earth does someone get to the point of knowledge and understanding of such complicated systems?!? It's incredible! It always blows my mind. I hope to one day be so literate on such topics.
in my postnatal ward, d docs order a d-dimer together with post partum profile ( cbc, pt ptt ) to determine the onset of DIVC.
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