What is the prevalence of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and which conditions may be complicated by DIC?

Updated: Dec 06, 2020
  • Author: Marcel M Levi, MD; Chief Editor: Srikanth Nagalla, MBBS, MS, FACP  more...
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DIC is estimated to be present in as many as 1% of hospitalized patients. [5] DIC is not itself a specific illness; rather, it is a complication or an effect of the progression of other illnesses. It is always secondary to an underlying disorder and is associated with a number of clinical conditions, generally involving activation of systemic inflammation. Such conditions include the following [6] :

  • Sepsis and severe infection [7]  (including COVID-19 [8] )
  • Trauma (neurotrauma)
  • Organ destruction (eg, pancreatitis)
  • Malignancy (solid and lymphoproliferative/myeloproliferative malignancies)
  • Severe transfusion reactions
  • Obstetric complications –  Amniotic fluid embolismabruptio placentae; hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets (HELLP) syndrome; eclampsia 
  • Retained dead fetus syndrome
  • Vascular abnormalities -  Kasabach-Merritt syndrome and large vascular aneurysms
  • Severe hepatic failure
  • Severe toxic reactions - Envenomations,  transfusion reactions, and transplant rejection
  • Heat stroke and hyperthermia
  • Hemorrhagic skin necrosis (purpura fulminans) [9, 10]
  • Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (rare) [11]

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