Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a serious disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting become abnormally active.
Normally, when you are injured, certain proteins in the blood become activated and travel to the injury site to help stop bleeding. However, in persons with DIC, these proteins become abnormally active. This often occurs due to inflammation, infection, or cancer.
Small blood clots form within the blood vessels. Some of these clots can clog up the vessels and cut off blood supply to various organs such as the liver, brain, or kidney. These organs will then stop functioning. Over time, the clotting proteins become "used up." When this happens, the person is then at risk for serious bleeding from even a minor injury. The small blood clots may also break up healthy red blood cells.
This disorder can result in clots or, more often, in bleeding. The bleeding can be severe.
Risk factors for DIC include:
The following tests may be done:
The goal is to determine and treat the underlying cause of DIC.
Blood clotting factors may be replaced with plasma transfusions. Heparin, a medication used to prevent clotting, is sometimes used.
The outcome depends on what is causing the disorder.
Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you have bleeding that won't stop.
Get prompt treatment for conditions known to bring on this disorder.