What is coagulopathy?

Coagulopathy is a condition in which the blood’s ability to clot is impaired. This condition can cause prolonged or excessive bleeding, which may occur spontaneously or following an injury or medical and dental procedures.

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The normal clotting process depends on the interplay of various proteins in the blood. Coagulopathy may be caused by reduced levels or absence of blood-clotting proteins, known as clotting factors or coagulation factors. Genetic disorders, such as hemophilia and von Willebrand’s disease, can cause a reduction in clotting factors. Coagulopathy may also occur as a result of dysfunction or reduced levels of platelets (small disk-shaped bodies in the bloodstream that aid in the clotting process).

If you have coagulopathy, your health care provider may help you manage your symptoms with medications or replacement therapy. In replacement therapy, the reduced or absent clotting factors are replaced with proteins derived from human blood or created in the laboratory. This therapy may be given either to treat bleeding that has already begun or to prevent bleeding from occurring.

Coagulopathy may cause uncontrolled internal or external bleeding. Left untreated, uncontrolled bleeding may cause damage to joints, muscles, or internal organs and may be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, including heavy external bleeding, blood in the urine or stool, double vision, severe head or neck pain, repeated vomiting, difficulty walking, convulsions, or seizures. Seek prompt medical care if you experience mild but unstoppable external bleeding or joint swelling and stiffness.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of coagulopathy?

Symptoms of coagulopathy include excessive bleeding that may occur spontaneously or following an injury, surgery, or other incident. You may observe excessive bleeding in the mouth or nose or from a cut in the skin. You may experience additional symptoms that could indicate that bleeding is occurring in joints, internal organs, or the brain. The symptoms may vary widely in severity depending on the underlying cause of coagulopathy.... Read more about coagulopathysymptoms

CAUSES

What causes coagulopathy?

Blood clotting requires healthy platelet levels and approximately 20 proteins called clotting factors, or coagulation factors. Coagulopathy occurs when your body is missing or has low levels of one or more of these proteins. It also may occur when platelet levels are low. Reduced or missing clotting factors may be caused by a variety of inherited or acquired disorders.... Read more about coagulopathycauses

TREATMENTS

How is coagulopathy treated?

Treatment for coagulopathy begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine whether you have coagulopathy and, if so, its underlying cause, your health care provider will likely draw blood samples for laboratory testing.... Read more about coagulopathytreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation