Coagulation in sepsis

Tonya Jagneaux, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.
David E. Taylor
Stephen P. Kantrow


Activation of the coagulation cascade during invasive infection can result in purpura fulminans, with rapid progression of tissue ischemia, or may manifest as abnormal clotting indices alone. Although severe derangements in coagulation are associated with organ dysfunction and increased mortality, the contribution of coagulopathy to the pathophysiology of sepsis remains incompletely understood. Over the past decade, investigators have evaluated several therapeutic anticoagulant strategies in sepsis, and manipulation of the coagulation system has emerged as a key concept in the current management of this disease. Clinical observations during treatment of septic patients with the endogenous anticoagulant activated protein C have stimulated additional study of interactions between endothelial injury, coagulation, and inflammation. This review describes clotting abnormalities during sepsis and discusses the clinical experience with therapeutic strategies intended to oppose excessive coagulation.