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Ann Rehabil Med. 2019 Feb;43(1):81-86. English. Original Article.
Ryu SH , Min SW , Kim JH , Jeong HJ , Kim GC , Kim DK , Sim YJ .
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Kosin University Gospel Hospital, Busan, Korea.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Chungju, Korea.


To find out whether levels of fibrin degradation products (FDP) and D-dimer are increased in breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) as in many vascular diseases. FDP and D-dimer have been used in blood tests to help differentiate deep vein thrombosis in the diagnosis of lymphedema. Levels of FDP and D-dimer are often elevated in patients with BCRL.


Patients with BCRL (group I), non-lymphedema after breast cancer treatment (group II), and deep venous thrombosis (group III) from January 2012 to December 2016 were enrolled. Levels of FDP and D-dimer were measured in all groups and compared among groups.


Mean values of FDP and D-dimer of group I were 5.614±12.387 and 1.179±2.408 μg/μL, respectively. These were significantly higher than their upper normal limits set in our institution. Levels of FDP or D-dimer were not significantly different between group I and group II. However, values of FDP and D-dimer in group III were significantly higher than those in group I.


Values of FDP and D-dimer were much higher in patients with thrombotic disease than those in patients with lymphedema. Thus, FDP and D-dimer can be used to differentiate between DVT and lymphedema. However, elevated levels of FDP or D-dimer cannot indicate the occurrence of lymphedema.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.