Chilton Medical Center - ATLANTIC HEALTH SYSTEM
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)  font size
PrintEmail
Search Health Information   

Blood clot formation
Blood clot formation


Meningococcemia on the calves
Meningococcemia on the calves


Meningococcemia on the leg
Meningococcemia on the leg


Meningococcemia associated purpura
Meningococcemia associated purpura


Blood clots
Blood clots


Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)

Definition:

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a serious disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting become over active.



Alternative Names:

Consumption coagulopathy; DIC



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

When you are injured, proteins in the blood that form blood clots travel to the injury site to help stop bleeding. If you have DIC, these proteins become abnormally active throughout the body. This may be due to inflammation, infection, or cancer.

Small blood clots form in the blood vessels. Some of these clots can clog the vessels and cut off blood supply to organs such as the liver, brain, or kidneys. Lack of blood flow can damage the organ and it may stop working. 

Over time, the clotting proteins in your blood are "used up." When this happens, you have a higher risk for serious bleeding, even from a minor injury or without injury. You may also have bleeding that starts on its own. The disease can also cause healthy red blood cells to break up when they travel through the small vessels that are filled with clots.

Risk factors for DIC include:

  • Blood transfusion reaction
  • Cancer, especially certain types of leukemia
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Infection in the blood, especially by bacteria or fungus
  • Liver disease
  • Pregnancy complications (such as placenta that is left behind after delivery)
  • Recent surgery or anesthesia
  • Severe tissue injury (as in burns and head injury)


Symptoms:
  • Bleeding, possibly from many sites in the body
  • Blood clots
  • Bruising
  • Drop in blood pressure


Signs and tests:

You may have the following tests:



Treatment:

The goal is to determine and treat the cause of DIC.

There is no specific treatment for DIC. Treatments may include:

  • Plasma transfusions to replace blood clotting factors
  • Blood thinner medicine (heparin) to prevent blood clotting

 



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

The outcome depends on what is causing the disorder. DIC can be life-threatening.



Complications:
  • Bleeding
  • Lack of blood flow to the arms, legs, or vital organs
  • Stroke


Calling your health care provider:

Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you have bleeding that won't stop.



Prevention:

Get prompt treatment for conditions known to bring on this disorder.



References:

 
Schafer AI. Hemorrhagic disorders: disseminated intravascular coagulation, liver failure, and vitamin K deficiency. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 178.

Liebman HA, Weitz IC. Disseminated intravascular coagulation. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al., eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 132.




Review Date: 11/17/2012
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Morristown Medical Center
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Overlook Medical Center
99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
908-522-2000

Newton Medical Center
175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center
97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Goryeb Children's Hospital
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

© 2014 Chilton Medical Center, 97 West Parkway, Pompton Plains, New Jersey 1-973-831-5000