Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)
Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a life-threatening
condition that prevents a person's blood from clotting normally. It may cause
excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) throughout the body, decreased urination,
breathing problems, decreased mental awareness, tissue death (necrosis), and
In DIC, the body's natural ability to regulate blood clotting does not function properly. This causes the blood's clotting
cells (platelets) to clump together and clog small blood vessels throughout the body. This excessive clotting damages
organs, destroys blood cells, and depletes the supply of platelets and other clotting factors so that the blood is no
longer able to clot normally. This often causes widespread bleeding, both internally and externally.
Common causes of DIC are severe trauma injuries, infectious
diseases, or types of cancers that upset the normal balance of blood clotting
Treatment for DIC depends on the medical condition causing it. Most
people with DIC require hospitalization, sometimes in an intensive care unit (ICU),
where treatment will attempt to correct the problem causing the DIC while
maintaining the function of the body's organs. Treatment may include blood
transfusions and medicines to correct both the problem that caused the DIC and
the DIC itself.
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.