Disseminated intravascular coagulation causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ogheneochuko Ajari, MB.BS, MS [2] Omer Kamal, M.D.[3]


There are a variety of causes of DIC, all usually causing the release of chemicals into the blood that instigates the coagulation. Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated. Disseminated intravascular coagulation in itself is a life-threatening condition and must be treated as such irrespective of the cause. Common causes include abruptio placentae, amniotic fluid embolism, aortic aneurysm, blood transfusion reaction, drugs (e.g. Amphetamines), beractant eclampsia, giant hemangioma, graft-versus-host disease, HELLP syndrome and hemolytic transfusion reaction.


Life Threatening Causes

Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated.[1]

Disseminated intravascular coagulation in itself is a life-threatening condition and must be treated as such irrespective of the cause.[2][3][4]

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Aortic aneurysm, malignant hypertension, myocardial infarction, septic shock, shock, vasculitis
Chemical / poisoning Snake bite (elapid)
Dermatologic Purpura fulminans, Raynaud's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis
Drug Side Effect Amphetamine, cocaine, indomethacin, interleukin 2, Mafenide, serotonin syndrome, Dinoprostone
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Acute fatty liver of pregnancy, acute hepatic failure, acute pancreatitis, Crohn disease, fulminant hepatic failure, liver disease, ulcerative colitis
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic Acute hemolytic transfusion reactions, acute myeloid leukemia, acute promyelocytic leukemia, antiphospholipid syndrome, Kasabach-Merritt syndrome, myeloproliferative syndrome, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, purpura fulminans, Trousseau's syndrome
Iatrogenic Acute renal allograft rejection, Denver shunt, extensive surgery, LeVeen shunt, liver transplantation, peritoneovenous shunt, prosthetic devices, serotonin syndrome, surgery, recent anesthesia, ventricular assist devices
Infectious Disease Arenaviruses, Argentine hemorrhagic fever, aspergillosis, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, capnocytophaga canimorsus, CMV, HELLP syndrome, hepatitis viruses, histoplasmosis, malaria (malignant tertian), meningococcal septicaemia, mycoplasma pneumoniae, neisseria meningiditis, osteomyelitis, rocky mountain spotted fever, sarcoidosis, sepsis, septic shock, sleeping sickness (East African), streptococcus pneumoniae, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers, VZV
Musculoskeletal / Ortho Osteomyelitis
Neurologic Antiphospholipid syndrome, meningococcal septicaemia, neisseria meningiditis
Nutritional / Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic Abruptio placentae, amniotic fluid embolism, dead fetus syndrome, eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, intrauterine death, pre-eclampsia, retained intrauterine fetal demise, septic abortion
Oncologic Acute myeloid leukemia, acute promyelocytic leukemia, Cancers of lung, pancreas, prostate and stomach, giant hemangioma, Kasabach-Merritt syndrome, malignancy, mucin-secreting adenocarcinoma, paraneoplastic syndrome, Trousseau's syndrome
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity Amphetamine, cocaine
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary Acute respiratory distress syndrome, empyema, mycoplasma pneumoniae, sarcoidosis, streptococcus pneumoniae, tuberculosis
Renal / Electrolyte Renal failure
Rheum / Immune / Allergy Acute renal allograft rejection, antiphospholipid syndrome, interleukin 2, macrophage-activation syndrome, paraneoplastic syndrome, Raynaud's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, vasculitis
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Burns, crush syndrome, head injury, lightning strike, motor vehicle accidents, severe tissue injury, trauma
Urologic No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Heat stroke, hyperthermia, prosthetic devices, Snake bite (elapid), venomous snakes

Causes in Alphabetical Order


  1. Spero JA, Lewis JH, Hasiba U (February 1980). "Disseminated intravascular coagulation. Findings in 346 patients". Thromb. Haemost. 43 (1): 28–33. PMID 6773170.
  2. Levi M, Toh CH, Thachil J, Watson HG (April 2009). "Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of disseminated intravascular coagulation. British Committee for Standards in Haematology". Br. J. Haematol. 145 (1): 24–33. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2009.07600.x. PMID 19222477.
  3. Ghosh K, Shetty S (March 2008). "Blood coagulation in falciparum malaria--a review". Parasitol. Res. 102 (4): 571–6. doi:10.1007/s00436-007-0832-0. PMID 18066597.
  4. Siegal T, Seligsohn U, Aghai E, Modan M (February 1978). "Clinical and laboratory aspects of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC): a study of 118 cases". Thromb. Haemost. 39 (1): 122–34. PMID 580488.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Lurie S, Feinstein M, Mamet Y (2000). "Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy in pregnancy: thorough comprehension of etiology and management reduces obstetricians' stress". Arch Gynecol Obstet. 263 (3): 126–30. PMID 10763841.