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Disseminated intravascular coagulation

Updated: 2023-09-06


Rare and possibly life-threatening condition that causes blood to clot throughout the body's blood vessels.


In disseminated intravascular coagulation, clumps of thickened blood, also called clots, form inside the small blood vessels. The clotting process uses up clotting factors, leading to heavy bleeding. Causes include infection, injury and illnesses, including cancer.


Symptoms include bleeding from wounds and from the nose and mouth. There might be blood in urine and stool. There might be bruising, chest pain, leg swelling and yellowing of the skin and eyes, called jaundice. Jaundice can be harder to see on Black or brown skin.


Treatment is to control clotting and bleeding and to treat the underlying cause. Treatment might include medicines, clotting factor replacement therapy, and getting plasma and platelets from donors.