Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

August 14 20:01 2019 Print This Article

Disseminated intravascular coagulation is a serious disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting are abnormally active. It may cause excessive clotting (thrombosis) or bleeding (hemorrhage) throughout the body and lead to shock, organ failure, and death. In DIC, the body’s natural ability to regulate blood clotting does not function properly. This causes the blood’s clotting cells ( platelets ) to clump together and clog small blood vessels throughout the body. This excessive clotting damages organs, destroys blood cells, and depletes the supply of platelets and other clotting factors so that the blood is no longer able to clot normally. This often causes widespread bleeding, both internally and externally.

DIC presents in a very ill patient as bleeding into the skin ( purpura ) and other tissues. It arises as a complication of different serious and life-threatening diseases. It covers the continuum of events that occur in the coagulation pathway. Initially there is uncontrolled activation of clotting factors in the blood vessels, causing clotting of blood throughout the whole body. This depletes the body of its platelets and coagulation factors and results in a paradoxical increased risk of bleeding (haemorrhaging). Hence, patients with DIC have a loss of balance between the clot-forming activity of thrombin (enzyme that causes blood to clot) and the clot-lysing activity of plasmin (enzyme that dissolves blood clots). DIC is not a specific diagnosis and its presence always indicates another underlying disease.

Causes of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

Find common causes and risk factors of acne:

  • Blood transfusion reaction.
  • Infection in the blood by bacteria or fungus.
  • Pregnancy complications (such as retained placenta after delivery).
  • Severe tissue injury (as in burns and head injury).
  • Cancer, including leukemia.

Signs and Symptoms of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Sudden bruising.
  • Bleeding, possibly from multiple sites in the body.
  • Blood clots.

Treatment for Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

Treatment may include:

  • In some cases, the blood thinner called heparin is used. This shuts down the cascade of events that make the body overuse its blood clotting factors.
  • Transfusions of blood cells and other blood products may be necessary to replace blood that has been lost through bleeding and to replace clotting factors used up by the body.