Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn

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Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn
Phylloquinone structure.svg
Vitamin K1
SpecialtyPediatrics Edit this on Wikidata

Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn, also known as vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), is a coagulation disturbance in newborn infants due to vitamin K deficiency. As a consequence of vitamin K deficiency there is an impaired production of coagulation factors II, VII, IX, X, protein C and protein S by the liver, resulting in excessive bleeding (hemorrhage).

Signs and symptoms[edit]

The disease causes an increased risk of bleeding. The most common sites of bleeding are the umbilicus, mucous membranes, gastrointestinal tract, circumcision and venepunctures.


Newborns are relatively vitamin K deficient for a variety of reasons. They have low vitamin K stores at birth, vitamin K passes the placenta poorly, the levels of vitamin K in breast milk are low and the gut flora has not yet been developed (vitamin K is normally produced by intestinal bacteria).


Precise diagnosis by measuring proteins induced by vitamin k absence (PIVKA). But this is usually not required.


Treatment consists of vitamin K supplementation.[1] This is often given prophylactically to newborns shortly after birth.


  1. ^ Hubbard D, Tobias JD (November 2006). "Intracerebral hemorrhage due to hemorrhagic disease of the newborn and failure to administer vitamin K at birth". South. Med. J. 99 (11): 1216–20. doi:10.1097/01.smj.0000233215.43967.69. PMID 17195415.

External links[edit]

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