Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC, also called consumption coagulopathy and defibrination syndrome) is a systemic process producing both thrombosis and hemorrhage. It is initiated by a number of defined disorders and consists of the following components:
- Exposure of blood to procoagulants
- Formation of fibrin in the circulation
- Depletion of clotting factors
- End-organ damage
Disseminated intravascular coagulation is a complication of underlying illness occurring in approximately 1 percent of hospital admissions . Treatment of DIC is supportive, with platelet transfusion and clotting factor replacement therapy. In certain selected circumstances, judicious use of heparin may be beneficial. The prognosis is generally that of the underlying disease.
The pathogenesis and etiology of DIC will be reviewed here. The clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of this disorder are discussed separately. (See "Clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment of disseminated intravascular coagulation in adults".)
PATHOGENESIS OF DIC
The pathogenesis of DIC is primarily due to an uncontrolled and excessive production of thrombin, leading to widespread and systemic intravascular fibrin deposition (algorithm 1) .