Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

pp 538-539

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

  • Hugo Ten CateAffiliated withLaboratory for Clinical Thrombosis and Hemostasis, Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University


Defibrination syndrome; Acquired afibrinogenemia; Consumptive coagulopathy, and consumptive thrombohemorrhagic disorder; Disseminated intravascular fibrin formation; Diffuse intravascular coagulation; DIC

Definition and Characteristics

Defined by the International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis, DIC is “an acquired syndrome characterized by the intravascular activation of coagulation with loss of localization arising from different causes [1,2]. It can originate from and cause damage to the microvasculature, which if sufficiently severe, can produce organ dysfunction.” One consequence of DIC may indeed be fibrinous occlusion of small and midsize vessels contributing to multi organ failure (MOF).

Causes: Any severe acute disease can trigger DIC; important examples are bacterial sepsis, multiple trauma, particularly brain injury, eclampsia and amniotic fluid embolism. More chronic forms of DIC may be seen in malignancies, particularly hem ...

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