Activation of inflammatory and coagulation pathways is important in the pathogenesis of vascular disease. There is ample evidence that extensive cross-talk between these two systems exists, whereby inflammation not only leads to activation of coagulation, but coagulation also markedly affects inflammatory activity. The main interfaces linking coagulation and inflammation are the tissue factor pathway, thrombin, the protein C system and the fibrinolytic (or plasminogen-plasmin) system. Proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines can affect all these coagulation mechanisms, and vice versa, activated coagulation proteases and physiological anticoagulants or components of the plasminogen-plasmin system can modulate inflammation by specific cell receptors. The intricate relationship between inflammation and coagulation may not only be relevant for vascular thrombotic disease but also has major consequences in the pathogenesis of microvascular failure and subsequent multiple organ failure in the setting of severe infection. This review focuses on the present understanding of the bidirectional relationship between inflammation and coagulation.