Recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) is a novel hemostatic agent, originally developed for the treatment of hemorrhage in hemophiliacs with inhibitors, which has been successfully used recently in an increasing number of nonhemophilic bleeding conditions. In the present systematic review we report the existing literature data on the use of this hemostatic agent in severe bleeding, unresponsive to standard treatment,
associated with disseminated intravascular coagulation. A total of 99 disseminated intravascular coagulation-associated bleeding episodes treated with rFVIIa were collected from 27 published articles: in the majority of the cases, the underlying disorder complicated by disseminated intravascular coagulation was a postpartum hemorrhage, while in the remaining cases it was a cancer, trauma, sepsis or liver failure. Although limited, the data available suggest that rFVIIa could have a potential role in this clinical setting. Large randomized trials are needed, however, to confirm the preliminary results and to assess the safety and dosing regimens of this agent in refractory bleeding associated with disseminated intravascular coagulation.