Background: It is not known what diagnoses are associated with an elevated D-dimer in unselected patients attending emergency departments (ED), nor have their associated outcomes been determined. Methods: This was a prospective observational study of 1612 unselected patients attending a Danish ED, with 100% follow-up for 90 days after presentation. Results: The 765 (47%) ED patients with an elevated D-dimer level (ie, ≥ 0.5 mg/L) were more likely to be admitted to hospital (p <.0001), re-present to health services (p =. 02), and die within 90 days (8.1% of patients, p <.0001). Only 10 patients with a normal D-dimer level (1.2%) died within 90 days. Five had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and infection, and 5 had cancer (4 of whom also had infection). Venous thromboembolism, infection, neoplasia, anemia, heart failure, and unspecified soft tissue disorders were significantly associated with an elevated D-dimer level. Of the 72 patients with venous thromboembolism, 20 also had infection, 8 had cancer, and 4 had anemia. None of the patients with heart failure, stroke, or acute myocardial infarction with a normal D-dimer level died within 90 days. Conclusions: In this study, nearly half of all patients attending the ED had an elevated D-dimer level, and these patients were more likely to be admitted to hospital and to re-present to health services or die within 90 days. In this unselected ED patient population, elevated D-dimer levels were found to not only be significantly associated with venous thromboembolism, but to also be associated with infection, cancer, heart failure, and anemia.
- Unselected emergencies