Reporting of D-dimer data in COVID-19: Some confusion and potential for misinformation

Emmanuel J. Favaloro, Jecko Thachil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) represents a new pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome virus coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A previous pooled analysis clearly identified elevated D-dimer levels as being associated with severity of COVID-19. Since then, several other studies have provided clearer support for this initial evidence. However, potentially under-recognized by those reporting on D-dimer is the considerable variation in reporting units for D-dimer, and thus also the potential for misreporting of D-dimer data based on poor or incomplete reporting. A PubMed search was used to identify recent papers reporting on D-dimers in COVID-19-based studies. We report that: (1) most publications did not identify either the manufacturer or D-dimer product used; (2) most did not identify whether D-dimer values were reported as D-dimer units (DDU) or fibrinogen equivalent units (FEU) (~2 × differences); (3) nearly half did not identify normal cut-off values; (4) some did not report numerical findings or units for D-dimer; (5) where reported, most identified units as either mg/L or μg/mL; (6) we identified at least four errors in reporting from 21 papers. It may not be possible to truly standardize D-dimer assays, but it should be feasible to harmonize D-dimer assays to a single unit of measurement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1199
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2020


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