Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) is a pathological condition in which the normal haemostatic mechanisms are disturbed leading to an uncontrolled and pathological activation of the clotting cascade as a result of profound states of shock. Most commonly as a result of Septic Shock (but can occur in traumatic Hypovolaemic Shock).
During normal homeostasis, the body acutely regulates blood coagulation and fibrinolyis in order to maintain normal circulatory function. However, in Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) the process of coagulation and fibrinolyis is deregulated as a result of the body’s attempt to combat profound states of shock. This results in the body developing multiple micro-clots at the same time producing excessive amounts of fibrin, which attempts to break these clots further producing the need for more clotting factors. This produces a systemic circulatory state of micro-clots, micro-bleeds, which often lead to multiple organ failure and death. The mortality rate of patients suffering with Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation is close to 50%.
To learn more about the clotting cascade, please review my Clotting Cascade Page.