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Br J Haematol. 1999 Mar;104(3):430-7.

Prevention of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in newborns.

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Department of Pediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, and University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Newborn babies are born vitamin K deficient; however, the deficiency is not sufficiently severe to cause a vitamin K deficiency coagulopathy and haemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN). Severe vitamin K deficiency can develop quickly in breast-fed newborns and can result in the appearance of classic HDN during the first week of life or late HDN during the first 2 months of life. Both forms of the disease can be severe, causing brain damage and death. Classic and late HDN are prevented by the intramuscular administration of vitamin K at birth. Oral prophylaxis prevents classic HDN but is ineffective in preventing late HDN. Despite proven effectiveness of intramuscular vitamin K prophylaxis there have been concerns about the need for, and safety of, this therapy. This review provides evidence that there is need for intramuscular vitamin K prophylaxis for all babies in order to eradicate haemorrhagic disease of the newborn and concludes that there is no evidence that this therapy is harmful.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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