2013. Schouten HJ et al. – Diagnostic accuracy of conventional or age adjusted D-dimer cut-off values in older patients with suspected venous thromboembolism: Systematic review and meta-analysis
Schouten HJ, Geersing GJ, Koek HL, Zuithoff NP, Janssen KJ, Douma RA, van Delden JJ, Moons KG, Reitsma JB. Diagnostic accuracy of conventional or age adjusted D-dimer cut-off values in older patients with suspected venous thromboembolism: Systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2013;346:f2492.
OBJECTIVE: To review the diagnostic accuracy of D-dimer testing in older patients (>50 years) with suspected venous thromboembolism, using conventional or age adjusted D-dimer cut-off values.
DESIGN: Systematic review and bivariate random effects meta-analysis.
DATA SOURCES: We searched Medline and Embase for studies published before 21 June 2012 and we contacted the authors of primary studies.
STUDY SELECTION: Primary studies that enrolled older patients with suspected venous thromboembolism in whom D-dimer testing, using both conventional (500 µg/L) and age adjusted (age × 10 µg/L) cut-off values, and reference testing were performed. For patients with a non-high clinical probability, 2 × 2 tables were reconstructed and stratified by age category and applied D-dimer cut-off level.
RESULTS: 13 cohorts including 12,497 patients with a non-high clinical probability were included in the meta-analysis. The specificity of the conventional cut-off value decreased with increasing age, from 57.6% (95% confidence interval 51.4% to 63.6%) in patients aged 51-60 years to 39.4% (33.5% to 45.6%) in those aged 61-70, 24.5% (20.0% to 29.7% in those aged 71-80, and 14.7% (11.3% to 18.6%) in those aged >80. Age adjusted cut-off values revealed higher specificities over all age categories: 62.3% (56.2% to 68.0%), 49.5% (43.2% to 55.8%), 44.2% (38.0% to 50.5%), and 35.2% (29.4% to 41.5%), respectively. Sensitivities of the age adjusted cut-off remained above 97% in all age categories.
CONCLUSIONS: The application of age adjusted cut-off values for D-dimer tests substantially increases specificity without modifying sensitivity, thereby improving the clinical utility of D-dimer testing in patients aged 50 or more with a non-high clinical probability.