D-Dimer Levels Predict Deep Vein Thrombosis in Spinal Cord Injury

HealthDay News — D-dimer levels can redict the likelihood of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients with acute traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (SCI), according to a study published in The Spine Journal.

Muneaki Masuda, MD, from the Japan Labour Health and Welfare Organization Spinal Injuries Center in Iizuka, and colleagues conducted a prospective clinical study to define the epidemiology and incidence of DVT in acute traumatic cervical SCI in a Japanese population. A total of 268 patients with acute traumatic cervical SCI were enrolled; 211 patients remained after excluding early drop-out patients. Neurologic status assessment and blood chemistry were performed every week until 1 month after injury.

The researchers identified DVT in 10.4% of patients. All patients who were positive for DVT had severe paralysis classified as C or greater on the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale. Of the clinical and laboratory parameters, only the D-dimer level at 2 weeks after injury could accurately predict DVT formation, with 16 µg/dL as the optimal threshold of D-dimer for prediction. For detecting DVT, the sensitivity and specificity were 77.3 and 69.2%, respectively.

“D-dimer levels may be used to predict the likelihood of DVT development in patients with acute cervical SCI,” the authors write. “Such a screening test would be cost-efficient and simple to administer and could then be followed with additional investigations, such as ultrasonography or venography.”


  1. Masuda M, Ueta T, Shiba K, Iwamoto Y. D-dimer screening for deep venous thrombosis in traumatic cervical spinal injuries. Spine J. 2015;15(11):2338-44.