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What Is the D-dimer Test, When and why is this test required?

03 January, 2022 Ananya Das

D-dimer test is a way of diagnosing clots in the blood via blood tests. The test is done to discover the presence of any blood clotting disorder. In this test, the results are based on the measures of D-dimer present in the blood.

D-dimer is a protein fragment. It forms in the body when any blood clot dissolves in the body. It is difficult to detect D–dimer in the blood but when a quite good quantity of blood clots break or form in the blood then it is measured.

Is blood clotting fatal for health?

Blood clots are an essential need of everybody. Unless there is good blood clotting time during any injury or cut, there may occur deadly blood loss from the body. But if there occurs blood clotting within the body due to some medical condition, then it might be fatal for health. Unnecessary blood clots result in fatal health conditions. Hence, to find out any underlying blood clot disorders, the D-dimer test is performed.

What are the different blood clot disorders?

Certain conditions develop due to the clotting of blood. Some of such disorders are

  • PE (pulmonary embolism): Clotting of blood in the lungs leads to the case of pulmonary embolism, the condition of a blood clot in the lungs may occur due to the fact that blood reaches the lungs via the bloodstream. This clot could have developed in some other part of the body like legs or arms.
  • Stroke: A stroke occurs when any blood vessel of the brain gets choked or any blockage is found in them. This blockage in the blood vessel of the brain results from the formation of blood clots in the blood vessel. Such types of clottings can also lead to the bursting of the blood vessel. This kind of disorder is deadly in nature and can take the patient to coma as well.
  • DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation): In disseminated intravascular coagulation disorder, too many blood clots form in the body. The quantity of clots is significant enough to cause damage to organs. D-dimer test is a primary test done here to examine the presence of clots, for further confirmation of the disorder another specific test is described.
  • DVT (deep vein thrombosis): Deep vein thrombosis is a disorder where clot forms in a vein lying deep inside the body. The major parts where such a condition can occur are your limbs, legs, pelvis, thigh, kidney, liver, or many more. This clot clogs the blood flow through the affected vein either partially or completely. Hence, leading to major problems.

If not detected timely, then the blood clotting damages the proper functioning of the body. The required and essential flow of oxygen, energy, and blood stops due to the unnecessary clots. These finally results in fatal conditions.

When and why is the D-dimer test needed?

The primary aim of performing the D-dimer test is to detect the presence of any blood clot disorder. The signal for the presence of any blood clot disorder occurs due to the symptoms faced. Some of the common symptoms of some such common disorders are:

  • For DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis):
    • Tenderness in the legs
    • Swelling in the legs
    • Red streaks on the legs
    • Severe pain in the legs
  • For DIC (Disseminated intravascular coagulation)
    • Gum bleeding
    • Vomiting
    • Seizures
    • Frequent urination
  • For PE (Pulmonary embolism)

Meaning of D-dimer test result

If your D-dimer test yields a positive result or a high D-dimer value then it doesn’t guarantee the presence of blood clots. To verify and confirm if there is an underlying medical condition due to blood clotting other specific tests are prescribed to be performed. Sometimes, the high measures of D-dimer also result due to some special conditions of health other than the presence of blood clottings. Some of such conditions include pregnancy, heart surgery, any other surgery or any kind of heart disease.