Diagnosis and Management of Coagulopathy-Related Intracerebral Hemorrhage

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Coagulopathy, defined as impaired clot formation, is common in intensive care units (ICUs). Many physiological derangements lead to dysfunctional hemostasis in the ICU; most of these are acquired rather than congenital. Coagulopathies in the ICU are often related to systemic diseases, autoimmune dysfunction, acute infection, organ dysfunction, therapeutic medications, and/or other medical treatments. A significant complication of coagulopathy in the critically ill is major bleeding, defined as fatal hemorrhage, hemodynamic instability, transfusion requirement, or intracranial hematomas. Coagulopathy in the ICU often poses complex management dilemmas, especially when coagulopathy coexists with a thrombotic state. Coagulopathy associated with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) bears directly on neurologic prognosis and functional outcome. There is a paucity of high-quality evidence for the management of coagulopathies in neurocritical care; however, data derived from studies of patients with ICH may inform treatment decisions. This article focuses on acquired conditions such as pharmacological therapies, organ failure, and platelet dysfunction that are often associated with defective clot formation in the ICU that result in or exacerbate ICH.

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