The DAGMAR Score: D-dimer assay-guided moderation of adjusted risk. Improving specificity of the D-dimer for pulmonary embolism

Published:August 08, 2018DOI:


      We generated a novel scoring system to improve the test characteristics of D-dimer in patients with suspected PE (pulmonary emboli).
      Electronic Medical Record data were retrospectively reviewed on Emergency Department (ED) patients 18 years or older for whom a D-dimer and imaging were ordered between June 4, 2012 and March 30, 2016. Symptoms (dyspnea, unilateral leg swelling, hemoptysis), age, vital signs, medical history (cancer, recent surgery, medications, history of deep vein thrombosis or PE, COPD, smoking), laboratory values (quantitative D-dimer, platelets, and mean platelet volume (MPV)), and imaging results (CT, VQ) were collected.
      Points were designated to factors that were significant in two multiple regression analyses, for PE or positive D-dimer. Points predictive of PE were designated positive values and points predictive of positive D-dimer, irrespective of presence of PE, were designated negative values.
      The DAGMAR (D-dimer Assay-Guided Moderation of Adjusted Risk) score was developed using age and platelet adjustment and points for factors associated with PE and elevated D-dimer.
      Of 8486 visits reviewed, 3523 were unique visits with imaging, yielding 2253 (26.5%) positive D-dimers. 3501 CT scans and 156 VQ scans were completed, detecting 198 PE.
      In our cohort, a DAGMAR Score < 2 equated to overall PE risk < 1.2%. Specificity improved (38% to 59%) without compromising sensitivity (94% to 96%). Use of the DAGMAR Score would have reduced CT scans from 2253 to 1556 and lead to fewer false negative results.
      By considering factors that affect D-dimer and also PE, we improved specificity without compromising sensitivity.
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