D-Dimer Test: What It Is, What It Is Used For, Risks and Price

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What do you mean by a D-Dimer test?

D-dimer is a protein fragment that your body produces when a blood clot dissolves in your body. A D-dimer test is a blood test that analyzes D-dimer. 

D-dimer is usually undetectable if your body produces and dissolves sizable blood clots

. However, a positive or increased D-dimer test result does not necessarily mean that you have a blood clotting disorder. The results of a D-dimer test cannot identify the type of clotting disorder. It cannot identify the location of the clot in your body.

What causes blood to clot?

Blood clotting also serves intended or normal purposes. In this condition, it is a vital mechanism that helps to stop excessive blood loss after injury. Your body initiates a process known as hemostasis. This is a process a blood vessel or tissue is wounded and bleeds. It causes a blood clot to form to slow blood loss and finally stop the bleeding.

Your body produces fibrin threads, which form a fibrin net during the hemostasis process. A net and a platelet-type cell hold the blood clot’s formation until the wound heals.

These blood clots can appear as bruises or scar tissue on your skin.

Your body produces an enzyme called plasmin to break down the blood clot into small pieces. It can be removed after your injury has healed and your body no longer requires it. The pieces are referred to as fibrin split products or fibrin degradation products. One of those fibrin breakdown products is D-dimer.

Blood clots are also formed if you are not injured. Also, they may not dissolve as they should if you have a blood clotting disorder. In other words, your body’s natural blood clotting mechanism isn’t functioning correctly. Blood clotting disorders can be severe and even deadly.

What is the purpose of a D-dimer test?

Physicians most frequently use D-dimer tests to identify blood coagulation conditions, such as

  • Deep vein thrombosis, also known as venous thrombosis or DVT, is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep within the body. Blood flowing through the vein may be entirely or partially blocked by the clot. This usually develops in the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis. This can also happen in the arm, brain, intestines, liver, or kidney.
  • A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot in your lungs. This develops when a clot from another region of your body travels through your bloodstream. After traveling, the clot lodges itself in the blood arteries of your lung. 
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a condition in which your body develops excessive blood clots. This can harm your organs and lead to other significant consequences. Medical professionals use a D-dimer test to diagnose DIC and assess how well DIC treatment is working.

How is the D-dimer test done?

A phlebotomist often carries out blood draws, including those for a D-dimer test. Any healthcare professional with training in blood drawing can carry out this task. The samples are then sent to a lab by your provider. Here a medical laboratory scientist prepares them and does the necessary tests on analyzers.

What are the uses of the D-dimer test?

The D-Dimer blood test determines the chance of developing possibly deadly blood clots. It is done to determine if thrombosis is present in the body and to confirm it. Moreover, it helps identify several risks, including pulmonary embolism. In this condition, a blood clot prevents blood from reaching the lungs, causing deep vein thrombosis. Also, large blood clots develop in the legs. These clots are also developed in disseminated vascular coagulation. In this condition, a person’s blood does not coagulate as it should. Doctors may prescribe the test when patients are at risk or have a suspicion of blood clotting issues.

How to understand the D-dimer results?

A significant blood clot may have occurred if your D-dimer level is greater than normal. The test does not reveal the location or source of the clot.

The D-dimer level can also rise as a result of other medical issues. So, other tests are used in addition to the D-dimer test to identify an illness or condition. Usually, it is combined with imaging scans and other blood tests.

You can be sent for imaging if the D-dimer test is positive. An average D-dimer level typically denotes the absence of a clotting issue.

What is the price of the D-dimer test?

The D-dimer test is a basic yet expensive test. The test generally costs between Rs. 400 and Rs. 1600, depending on the city, quality, and availability.

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