Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Fortnightly Review: Disseminated intravascular coagulation: diagnosis and treatment

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 16 March 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:683
  1. Trevor Baglin, consultant haematologista
  1. a Department of Haematology, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Cambridge CB2 2QQ


    Summary points

    • Disseminated intravascular coagulation is primarily a clinical diagnosis, and laboratory tests are used to confirm the diagnosis and monitor replacement of blood components

    • Tests required are platelet count, prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, fibrinogen, and a measure of fibrinogen degradation products

    • Treatment of disseminated intravascular coagulation is primarily that of the underlying condition

    • Maintenance of blood volume and tissue perfusion is essential in all cases of disseminated intravascular coagulation

    • Replacement of blood components is indicated if the patient is bleeding or an invasive procedure is required and must be monitored

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