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Deep Venous Thrombosis in a Patient with a Moderate Pretest Probability and a Negative D-Dimer Test: A Review of the Diagnostic Algorithms

Authors Al-Khafaji RA, Schierbeck L

Received 4 January 2020

Accepted for publication 7 April 2020

Published 27 May 2020 Volume 2020:11 Pages 173—184

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JBM.S244773

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin Bluth


Rasha A Al-Khafaji,1,2 Louise Schierbeck1

1Cardiology Department, Nordsjælland (North Zealand) University Hospital, Hillerød, Denmark; 2Endocrinology and Nephrology Department, Nordsjælland (North Zealand) University Hospital, Hillerød, Denmark

Correspondence: Rasha A Al-Khafaji; Louise Schierbeck Tel +45 31 32 11 89
; +45 48 29 52 15
Email rasha.alkhafaji2@gmail.com; louise.schierbeck@gmail.com

Abstract: Modern diagnostic strategies of venous thromboembolism (VTE) have been developed. In this review, the diagnostic algorithms for deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and their parameters are discussed individually in the context of reporting a case of DVT in a 43-year-old Caucasian female with a moderate pretest probability stratified by Wells’ score and a negative high quality D-dimer test. The patient was on treatment with Xarelto (rivaroxaban), 20 mg PO daily at the time of presentation. The diagnosis was verified through a complete lower limb ultrasound (US). This case highlights the diagnostic challenges and pitfalls of the current algorithms, especially those seen in a subgroup of patients such as patients with cancer, pregnancy, recurrent VTE or are on anticoagulation therapy at the time of presentation. The diagnosis of DVT is less plausible in a patient who is on anticoagulation therapy, but physicians should be aware of such a possibility. Physicians should also know in advance the numerous clinically relevant limitations of D-dimer testing before interpreting the results. Unifying the current diagnostic strategies, modifying the current Wells’ score and using the protocol of a whole-leg compression US instead of the limited US protocol are among the several cautious suggestions that have been proposed based on this review to possibly decrease the incidence of missed DVT.

Keywords: compression ultrasound, recurrent thrombosis, rivaroxaban, Wells’ score

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