Disseminated intravascular coagulation (dic)

General or Other | Hematology | Disseminated intravascular coagulation (dic) (Disease)


Disseminated intravascular coagulation leads to the formation of small blood clots inside the blood vessels throughout the body. As the small clots consume coagulation proteins and platelets, normal coagulation is disrupted and abnormal bleeding occurs from the skin (e. g. from sites where blood samples were taken), the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract and surgical wounds. The small clots also disrupt normal blood flow to organs (such as the kidneys), which may malfunction as a result.

A person with disseminated intravascular coagulation has a life-threatening failure of the blood clotting system, which causes blood clots to form inside the arteries and veins.

Common symptoms of disseminated intravascular coagulation include bleeding gums, coughing blood, heavy menstrual bleeding, vomiting blood, rectal bleeding, blood in stool, black stool, and nosebleeds. Other symptoms include confusion, cough, fever, and a rash that looks like bruises of broken blood vessels in the skin.

Causes and Risk factors

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), also known as disseminated intravascular coagulopathy or consumptive coagulopathy, is a pathological activation of coagulation (blood clotting) mechanisms that happens in response to a variety of diseases.

Disseminated intravascular coagulation is rare, but it may occur as a complication of severe blood loss, severe infections, and severe burns. Other causes include head injury, liver disease, sepsis, and adult respiratory distress syndrome.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A history and physical exam will be performed. Blood tests are done to diagnose the disorder. These tests will demonstrate low platelets, and defective clotting of blood. A search for the underlying cause of the DIC will also be done.

Treatment of the underlying cause is paramount. Transfusion of the missing blood clotting proteins is necessary. Occasionally heparin, a blood thinner, is prescribed. ...