D-dimer for prediction of long-term outcome in cryptogenic stroke patients with patent foramen ovale

Young Dae Kim, Dongbeom Song, Hyo Suk Nam, Kijeong Lee, Joonsang Yoo, Geu Ru Hong, Hye Sun Lee, Chung Mo Nam, Ji Hoe Heo

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Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a potential cause of cryptogenic stroke, given the possibility of paradoxical embolism from venous to systemic circulation. D-dimer level is used to screen venous thrombosis. We investigated the risk of embolism and mortality according to the presence of PFO and D-dimer levels in cryptogenic stroke patients. A total of 570 first-ever cryptogenic stroke patients who underwent transesophageal echocardiography were included in this study. D-dimer was assessed using latex agglutination assay during admission. The association of long-term outcomes with the presence of PFO and D-dimer levels was investigated. PFO was detected in 241 patients (42.3 %). During a mean 34.0 ± 22.8 months of follow-up, all-cause death occurred in 58 (10.2 %) patients, ischaemic stroke in 33 (5.8 %), and pulmonary thromboembolism in 6 (1.1 %). Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that a D-dimer level of > 1,000 ng/ml was an independent predictor for recurrent ischaemic stroke in patients with PFO (hazard ratio 5.341, 95 % confidence interval 1.648–17.309, p=0.005), but not in those without PFO. However, in patients without PFO, a D-dimer level of > 1,000 ng/ml was independently related with all-cause mortality. The risk of pulmonary thromboembolism tended to be high in patients with high D-dimer levels, regardless of PFO. Elevated D-dimer levels in cryptogenic stroke were predictive of the longterm outcome, which differed according to the presence of PFO. The coexistence of PFO and a high D-dimer level increased the risk of recurrent ischaemic stroke. The D-dimer test in cryptogenic stroke patients may be useful for predicting outcomes and deciding treatment strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-622
Number of pages9
JournalThrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology

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