Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn - Overview
Vitamin K deficiency bleeding; VKDB
Definition of Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn:
Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn is a bleeding disorder that usually develops shortly after a baby is born.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
A lack of vitamin K causes hemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting.
Babies usually have low levels of vitamin K for a variety of reasons. Vitamin K doesn't move easily across the placenta from the mother to the baby. As a result, a newborn doesn't have much vitamin K stored up at birth. Also, there isn't much vitamin K in breast milk.
Your baby may develop this condition if:
- A preventive vitamin K shot is not given at birth (if vitamin K is given by mouth instead of as a shot, it must be given more than once and it may not be as effective)
- You take certain anti-seizure drugs
The condition is grouped into three categories:
- Early onset hemorrhagic disease of the newborn is very rare. It occurs during the first hours of birth and certainly within 24 hours. Use of anti-seizure drugs or a blood thinner called coumadin during pregnancy is a common cause.
- Classic onset disease develops in breastfed infants who did not receive a vitamin K shot within the first week after birth. It is also rare.
- The late onset form is seen in infants older than 2 weeks up to 2 months old. It is more common in children who did not receive a vitamin K shot, and in those of Asian descent.
Newborns and infants with the following problems are more likely to develop this disorder:
- Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency
- Biliary atresia
- Celiac disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Reviewed last on: 1/28/2010
- Kimberly G. Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Blood Disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 103.
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn. Policy statement: controversies concerning vitamin K and the newborn. Pediatrics. 2003;112:191-192.
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