Background-D-dimer has been reported to be elevated in acute aortic dissection. Potential use as a "rule-out" marker has been suggested, but concerns remain given that it is elevated in other acute chest diseases, including pulmonary embolism and ischemic heart disease. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of D-dimer testing in a study population of patients with suspected aortic dissection. Methods and Results-In this prospective multicenter study, 220 patients with initial suspicion of having acute aortic dissection were enrolled, of whom 87 were diagnosed with acute aortic dissection and 133 with other final diagnoses, including myocardial infarction, angina, pulmonary embolism, and other uncertain diagnoses. D-dimer was markedly elevated in patients with acute aortic dissection. Analysis according to control disease, type of dissection, and time course showed that the widely used cutoff level of 500 ng/mL for ruling out pulmonary embolism also can reliably rule out aortic dissection, with a negative likelihood ratio of 0.07 throughout the first 24 hours. Conclusion-D-dimer levels may be useful in risk stratifying patients with suspected aortic dissection to rule out aortic dissection if used within the first 24 hours after symptom onset.
knowledge, the first to determine the prevalence of acute aortic dissection in patients suspected of having this disease. Our earlier study showed a prevalence of 25%, 1 and the described study was Ϸ40%. 2 Because our conditions were limited to tertiary centers that see and treat aortic dissection routinely and thus likely have increased awareness to this disease, we noted that these figures are most likely higher than those that will be seen in the community setting. Thus, we described likelihood ratios rather than predictive values because the latter is affected by prevalence. Dr Hugli's second issue concerns clinical spectrum. Our study and its findings were based on patients with suspected acute aortic dissection and not chest pain in general; thus, caution is needed in the generalization of our findings beyond the tested parameters of patients with acute aortic dissection presenting to mainly tertiary centers. Furthermore, on the topic of selection and verification bias, results of D-dimer measurements were not made available to the treating physician; therefore, this bias was not applicable to the present study. We disagree with the reasoning that examination of consecutive cases may have caused selection bias but rather assert that this allowed a more unbiased selection process. Although our present findings are limited to the described conditions, we believe that D-dimer is useful at present and that our findings, as an initial step, will help make possible the actual clinical use of D-dimer for acute aortic dissection and provide a diagnostic algorithm to optimize the use of imaging tests in these settings. We expect our findings to serve as a "working hypothesis" to be tested in more general settings such as in patients presenting with chest pain in general and in extension to the community setting (eg, nontertiary centers, healthcare systems) and further in studies that address usefulness of diagnostic strategies that incorporate both biochemical and imaging tests. We envision that a clinical algorithm will be developed that assigns patients to clinical risk groups that will help distinguish between high-risk patients who go directly to imaging and moderate-risk groups and identify lower-risk groups in which D-dimer may emerge as a rule-out screening measure.
Protein-losing enteropathy occurred in a 7-year-old girl with tricuspid atresia, concordant ventriculo-arterial connexions and a relatively large hypoplastic right ventricle, one year after an atrio-ventricular type of Fontan operation by means of a valveless woven Dacron conduit. Severe conduit regurgitation and a marked enlargement of the hypoplastic right ventricle were demonstrated at recatheterization. Insertion of a bioprosthetic valve at the base of the right atrial appendage led to a dramatic clinical recovery of the patient. The use of a valved conduit is recommended when an atrioventricular type of Fontan repair is planned in patients with tricuspid atresia, concordant ventriculo-arterial connexions and relatively large hypoplastic right ventricle.
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