How is disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) characterized?

Updated: Dec 06, 2020
  • Author: Marcel M Levi, MD; Chief Editor: Srikanth Nagalla, MBBS, MS, FACP  more...
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Answer

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is characterized by systemic activation of blood coagulation, which results in generation and deposition of fibrin, leading to microvascular thrombi in various organs and contributing to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). [1, 2]  Consumption of clotting factors and platelets in DIC can result in life-threatening hemorrhage. [3]

Derangement of the fibrinolytic system further contributes to intravascular clot formation, but in some cases, accelerated fibrinolysis may cause severe bleeding. Hence, a patient with DIC can present with a simultaneously occurring thrombotic and bleeding problem, which obviously complicates the proper treatment.


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