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Cardiovasc Res. 2003 Oct 15;60(1):26-39.

Infection and inflammation and the coagulation system.

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Department of Vascular Medicine and Internal Medicine (F-4), Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Severe infection and inflammation almost invariably lead to hemostatic abnormalities, ranging from insignificant laboratory changes to severe disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Systemic inflammation results in activation of coagulation, due to tissue factor-mediated thrombin generation, downregulation of physiological anticoagulant mechanisms, and inhibition of fibrinolysis. Pro-inflammatory cytokines play a central role in the differential effects on the coagulation and fibrinolysis pathways. Vice-versa, activation of the coagulation system may importantly affect inflammatory responses by direct and indirect mechanisms. Apart from the general coagulation response to inflammation associated with severe infection, specific infections may cause distinct features, such as hemorrhagic fever or thrombotic microangiopathy. The relevance of the cross-talk between inflammation and coagulation is underlined by the promising results in the treatment of severe systemic infection with modulators of coagulation and inflammation.

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