Introduction: The benefits and harm caused by anticoagulant treatments for sepsis induced disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) remain unclear. Therefore, we performed a network meta-analysis to assess the effect of available anticoagulant treatments on patient mortality, DIC resolution and the incidence of bleeding complication in patients with septic DIC. Materials and methods: We considered all studies from four recent systematic reviews and searched the PubMed, MEDLINE, and Cochrane databases for other studies that investigated anticoagulant treatment for septic DIC using antithrombin, thrombomodulin, heparin, or protease inhibitors in adult critically ill patients. These four anticoagulants and placebo were compared. The primary outcome in this study was patient mortality, and the secondary outcomes were the DIC resolution rate and incidence of bleeding complications. Results: The network meta-analysis included 1340 patients from nine studies. There were no significant differences in the risks of mortality and bleeding complications among all direct comparisons and the network meta-analysis. Using a placebo was associated with a significantly lower rate of DIC resolution, compared to antithrombin in the direct comparison (odds ratio [OR]: 0.20, 95% credible interval [95% CrI]: 0.046–0.81) and in the network meta-analysis (OR: 0.20, 95% CrI: 0.043–0.84). Conclusions: Our study revealed no significant differences in the risks for mortality and bleeding complications when a placebo and all four anticoagulants were compared in septic DIC patients. The results also indicated that antithrombin was associated with a five-fold higher likelihood of DIC resolution, compared to placebo.
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