Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a serious disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting become overactive.
Consumption coagulopathy; DIC
When you are injured, proteins in the blood that form blood clots travel to the injury site to help stop bleeding. If these proteins become abnormally active throughout the body, you could develop DIC. The underlying cause is usually due to inflammation, infection, or cancer.
In some cases of DIC, small blood clots form in the blood vessels. Some of these clots can clog the vessels and cut off the normal blood supply to organs such as the liver, brain, or kidneys. Lack of blood flow can damage and cause major injury to the organs.
In other cases of DIC, the clotting proteins in your blood are consumed. When this happens, you may have a high risk of serious bleeding, even from a minor injury or without injury. You may also have bleeding that starts spontaneously (on its own). The disease can also cause your healthy red blood cells to fragment and break up when they travel through the small vessels that are filled with clots.
Risk factors for DIC include:
Symptoms of DIC may include any of the following:
There is no specific treatment for DIC. The goal is to determine and treat the underlying cause of DIC.
Supportive treatments may include:
Outcome depends on what is causing the disorder. DIC can be life threatening.
Complications from DIC may include:
Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you have bleeding that does not stop.
Get prompt treatment for conditions known to bring on this disorder.
Levi M. Disseminated intravascular coagulation. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 139.
Napotilano M, Schmair AH, Kessler CM. Coagulation and fibrinolysis. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 39.