Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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DIC Overview

Another name for DIC is Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.

What is disseminated intravascular coagulation?
A person with disseminated intravascular coagulation has a life-threatening failure of the blood clotting system, which causes blood clots to form inside the arteries and veins. Disseminated intravascular coagulation is rare, but it may occur as a complication of severe blood loss, severe infections, and severe burns. Other causes include head injury, liver disease, sepsis, and adult respiratory distress syndrome.

What are the symptoms of disseminated intravascular coagulation?
Common symptoms of disseminated intravascular coagulation include bleeding gums, coughing blood, heavy menstrual bleeding, vomiting blood, rectal bleeding, blood in stool, black stool, and nosebleeds. Other symptoms include confusion, cough, fever, and a rash that looks like bruises of broken blood vessels in the skin.

How does the doctor treat disseminated intravascular coagulation?
Treatment for disseminated intravascular coagulation includes oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, and anticoagulants. Blood transfusion or platelet transfusion may be necessary.

Continue to DIC Risk Factors

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed DIC References
  1. DeLoughery TG. Critical care clotting catastrophies. Crit Care Clin. 2005 Jul;21(3):531-62. [15992672]
  2. Labelle CA, Kitchens CS. Disseminated intravascular coagulation: treat the cause, not the lab values. Cleve Clin J Med. 2005 May;72(5):377-8, 383-5. [15929452]
  3. Levi M. Disseminated intravascular coagulation: What's new? Crit Care Clin. 2005 Jul;21(3):449-67. [1599266]
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