How do acute and chronic disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) develop?

Updated: Dec 06, 2020
  • Author: Marcel M Levi, MD; Chief Editor: Srikanth Nagalla, MBBS, MS, FACP  more...
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DIC exists in both acute and chronic forms. Acute DIC develops when sudden exposure of blood to procoagulants (eg, tissue factor [TF], or tissue thromboplastin) generates intravascular coagulation. Compensatory hemostatic mechanisms are quickly overwhelmed, and, as a consequence, a severe consumptive coagulopathy leading to hemorrhage develops. Abnormalities of blood coagulation parameters are readily identified, and organ failure frequently results.

In contrast, chronic DIC reflects a compensated state that develops when blood is continuously or intermittently exposed to small amounts of TF. Compensatory mechanisms in the liver and bone marrow are not overwhelmed, and there may be little obvious clinical or laboratory indication of the presence of DIC. Chronic DIC is more frequently observed in patients with solid tumors and in those with large aortic aneurysms. [16]

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