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How Is Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation Treated?

Treatment for disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) depends on its severity and cause. The main goals of treating DIC are to control bleeding and clotting problems and treat the underlying cause.

Acute Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

People who have acute DIC may have severe bleeding that requires emergency treatment in a hospital. Treatment may include blood transfusions, medicines, and oxygen therapy. (Oxygen is given through nasal prongs, a mask, or a breathing tube.)

A blood transfusion is a safe, common procedure. You receive blood through an intravenous (IV) line in one of your blood vessels. Blood transfusions are done to replace blood loss due to an injury, surgery, or illness.

Blood is made up of various parts, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Some blood transfusions involve whole blood (blood with all of its parts). More often though, only some parts of blood are transfused.

If you have DIC, you may be given platelets and clotting factors, red blood cells, and plasma (the liquid part of blood).

Chronic Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

People who have chronic DIC are more likely to have blood clotting problems than bleeding. If you have chronic DIC, your doctor may treat you with medicines called anticoagulants, or blood thinners.

Blood thinners help prevent blood clots from forming. They also keep existing blood clots from getting larger.

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November 02, 2011 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.