A D-dimer test is a blood work that monitors for any blood clotting problems. This test is used to help the physician rule out the presence of a severe blood clot disorder. When you get a cut or wound, the body undergoes several steps to clot the blood, which is a normal process of healing. Blood clots begin to slowly break down after they are formed, and this process releases D-dimer into the blood. It is a protein fragment from the breakdown of a blood clot, which disappears within some time. However, high levels of D-dimer in the blood suggest that you may have a serious clot problem- deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Also Read: Deep Vein Thrombosis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
D-dimer test

What Is A D-Dimer Test?

This blood work measures the amount of D-dimer, a type of protein that the body secretes to break down a blood clot.

Blood clots form whenever a blood vessel is injured or by atherosclerosis or when blood flow is restricted, such as by a blood vessel being compressed for a prolonged duration. D-dimer is not detectable in the blood, but it is produced when the body is trying to break down a blood clot.

Purpose Of The Test

The doctor may recommend doing this if he suspects you have a serious blood clot problem. A person with deep vein thrombosis may have a clot deep in one of the veins, generally in the legs that can lead to severe health issues. If the clot travels to the lungs, it is called pulmonary embolism (PE). In the lungs, the clot can totally ward off the flow of blood and it is a medical emergency and may be life-threatening. Disseminated intravascular coagulation - a condition that averts the blood clotting process. Blood coagulation caused by the venom of certain snake bites are conditions that also require have D-dimer test.

Symptoms Of A Blood Clot Include:

Swelling of leg

Leg pain

Leg redness

Symptoms of blood clots in the lungs that may require you to have a D-dimer test include:

Trouble breathing


Fast heartbeat

Chest pain



Seek immediate medical help if you have any of these symptoms.

Preparation For The Test

No specific preparation is required for the test. The technician uses a thin needle to get a small amount of blood from the vein in the arm. And you get test results quickly, as it is often used in emergency situations.

Does This Test Pose Any Risks?

Generally, drawing a blood sample with a needle causes mild risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks the arm, a person may feel slight pain and after some time it may be slightly sore.

What Might Affect Test Results?

The D-dimer levels may be higher in individuals with other health problems such as infection, heart attack, liver disease, cancer, and injury.

What Does Test Result Mean?

A normal D-dimer level usually suggests a clotting problem is unlikely. A higher level of D-dimer than the normal means you have had a blood clot problem. This test doesn’t confirm that a person may have DVT or PE but can help rule them out.

Thus, this test is not only used to diagnose a disease condition but is also used with other blood works and imaging scans. A positive D-dimer test may require a person to do an imaging scan to rule out a risk for other health issues.

Other health issues that can also rise the D-dimer level include:


Liver disease

Some cancers