BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-007808

The great deception: tranexamic acid and extensive pulmonary emboli

  1. Vincent Mak
  1. Department of Respiratory Medicine, Central Middlesex Hospital, North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amr Salam, amrsalam{at}


Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common and life-threatening condition. The British Thoracic Society PE guidelines state that PE is reliably excluded in patients with low-intermediate clinical probability and a negative D-dimer. We are reporting the case of a 47-year-old lady, taking tranexamic acid for menorrhagia, who presented with shortness of breath and was diagnosed with extensive bilateral PE. She had a low clinical risk of PE as determined by her Wells score, and a subsequent negative D-dimer. This patient's D-dimer value of 15 ng/ml (HemosIL DD HS assay) was the lowest associated with any CT pulmonary angiogram (n=1645) recorded at our trust over a 2-year period. This lady was successfully treated with a heparin infusion and warfarin. No further thromboembolic events had occurred by 18-month follow-up. To our knowledge, this is the first case report to describe tranexamic acid causing an extremely low false-negative D-dimer masking PE.

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