Disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC, is a serious disruption in the body’s clotting mechanism. Normally, the body forms a blood clot in reaction to an injury. With DIC, the body overproduces many small blood clots throughout the body, depleting the body of clotting factors and platelets.
These small clots are dangerous and can interfere with the blood supply to organs, causing dysfunction and failure. Massive bleeding can occur due to the body’s lack of clotting factor and platelets. DIC is life-threatening and needs to be treated promptly.
Symptoms of DIC can vary in severity, depending on the cause, as well as the time of diagnosis. DIC is a life-threatening condition that must be treated promptly. Should you experience bleeding that doesn’t stop, or bleeding from an unknown source, it is critical to get emergency treatment. Symptoms of DIC include:
From multiple locations in the body
Blood clot formation causing fingers or toes to look blue
Your doctor will make a diagnosis of DIC based on your signs and symptoms, as well as results to certain blood tests. Like symptoms of DIC, blood levels will vary according to the severity of the DIC. Your blood will be examined for abnormal levels of certain tests, including:
Platelet count—usually reduced in DIC
Fibrinogen—usually reduced in DIC
Fibrin degradation products—usually elevated level in DIC
Prothrombin time (PT)—usually prolonged in DIC
Partial thromboplastin time (PTT)—usually prolonged in DIC
Thrombin test time—prolonged in DIC
D-dimer test—high level in DIC
Treatment of DIC depends on identifying and treating the underlying cause quickly. Your doctor may give you certain blood products or medications to treat your condition. Sepsis is usually treated with antibiotics. Treatment options include the following:
Fresh frozen plasma is used to replace low levels of coagulation factors caused by DIC. Platelets may also be given to restore low levels. Cryoprecipitates may also be used to correct low levels of fibrinogen.
Heparin is a blood thinner. Doctors sometimes give heparin in combination with blood products to reduce blood clots. Cancer patients whose DIC is difficult to control may receive heparin to control blood clots.
This medication is sometimes used to slow down clotting in certain patients.
To help reduce your chances of getting DIC, make sure you obtain prompt treatment for any of the conditions that can cause this disorder.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a