I understand what DIC is and what some causes are and how it occurs (tentatively, but still...)
What I don't understand is the use of heparin to treat DIC. I know it is controversial, that it is a last ditch effort. I just don't understand that rationale behind it's use for DIC, or how it works to help in DIC. After reading a bunch of journal articles and my book, my best understanding is that is "slows the coagulation cycle to allow clotting factor replinishment".
Is that it? Am I missing something else important? This is probably not as hard as I am making it but I am eyeball deep in test material and this is my sticking point!
Jun 1, '03
Okay - think of DIC as consumtive coagulopathy - you get that the crux of it is that the clotting factors are used up by clotting occurring in the capillaries of the body? In real terms teh problem when caring for these people is that they do not clot because what they need to clot is sitting in the capillaries now we can replenish the clottign factors to a certain extent but what hasn't really been answered ( and I'm hanging from a limb here) is what if this process of clotting capillaries is still going on? Are we pouring in clotting factors only to have them take up residence in a clooged up arteriole? Heparin is supposed to stop this microvasculature clotting - at least that is the theory - it is still beign debated and researched.
Jun 2, '03
Thanks gwenith! That's sort of the direction I was looking in, but it's just a bit confusing!