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Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) and Placenta Abruptio

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) and Placenta Abruptio

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a serious blood-clotting problem. It occurs in about 10% of women with placenta abruptio. Most of the time, this is when there is severe bleeding or a fetus dies from the abruption.1

In DIC, the body's natural ability to regulate blood clotting does not function as it should. This causes the blood's clotting cells (platelets) to clump together. These clumps clog small blood vessels throughout the body. This excessive clotting can damage organs, destroys blood cells, and depletes the supply of platelets and other clotting factors so that the blood is no longer able to clot normally. This often causes widespread bleeding, both internally and externally.

Transfusions of blood and other blood-clotting products, such as platelets, are usually required when DIC complicates labor and delivery.



  1. Hull AD, Resnik R (2009). Abruptio placentae section of Placenta previa, placenta accreta, abruptio placentae, and vasa previa. In RK Creasy et al., eds., Creasy and Resnik's Maternal Fetal Medicine, 6th ed., pp. 731–734. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerWilliam Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Last RevisedFebruary 3, 2012

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