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