Fragment D-dimer levels: an objective marker of vaso-occlusive crisis and other complications of sickle cell disease.
Although abnormalities in coagulation tests have been reported during vaso-occlusive crises in patients with sickle cell disease, objective, readily performed laboratory tests that document the occurrence of this complication have not been available. We examined the relationship between fibrin D-dimer levels and the occurrence of complications in patients with sickle cell disease, using a commercially available latex bead agglutination assay. The patients were either asymptomatic, hospitalized for vaso-occlusive crisis, or had other complications of sickle cell disease including leg ulcers, chronic cholecystitis, aseptic necrosis, joint pain and infection. Fifty-seven percent of 187 samples on 96 patients had elevated levels of fibrin D-dimer. Ninety percent of 75 samples from asymptomatic patients were negative for fibrin D-dimer (less than 1 microgram/ml) but 97% of 29 samples from patients with vaso-occlusive crisis and 85% of 83 samples from patients with other complications of sickle cell disease were positive. In serial studies, worsening or amelioration in clinical complications were reflected in increasing or decreasing levels of fibrin D-dimer, respectively. The molecular species of fibrin identified by the latex agglutination test was shown to be fragment D-dimer by successive immunoprecipitation and protein blot analysis. We conclude that the complications of sickle cell disease, including vaso-occlusive crisis, result in the production of fibrin D-dimer, and its detection may be used as a marker for the presence of the complication.
Devine, DV; Kinney, TR; Thomas, PF; Rosse, WF; Greenberg, CS
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