Send to

Choose Destination
Wien Med Wochenschr. 2008;158(13-14):385-95. doi: 10.1007/s10354-008-0538-7.

The neonatal coagulation system and the vitamin K deficiency bleeding - a mini review.

Author information

Department of Paediatrics, Landeskrankenhaus Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria.


Coagulation factors do not cross the placental barrier but are synthesized independently by the conceptus. At birth, activities of the vitamin K dependent factors II, VII, IX, and X and the concentrations of the contact factors XI and XII are reduced to about 50% of normal adult values. The levels of the factors V, VIII, XIII, and fibrinogen are similar to adult values. Plasma concentrations of the naturally occurring anticoagulant proteins (antithrombin, protein C, and protein S) are significantly lower at birth than during the adult years. Plasminogen is reduced by approximately 50%. Platelet counts are within the normal range, regarding function, however, neonatal platelets seem to be hyporeactive. The von Willebrand factor contains large multimers and its concentration is increased. Properties and functions of vitamin K as well as requirement and plasma concentrations in newborns are reviewed. Regarding vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), the classical nomenclature is used: "early" (presenting within the first 24 h of life), "classical" (day 1-7 after birth), and "late" (8 days to 6 months). After the presentation of the history of vitamin K prophylaxis, vitamin K levels are described as can be expected after the administration of prophylactic doses at various routes. Subsequently, the actual schedule of vitamin K prophylaxis as recommended by the "Osterreichische Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendheilkunde" is given as follows: i) the oral treatment of healthy full-term babies and orally fed preterm babies, ii) the parenteral treatment of small preterm and sick full-term babies, and iii) the treatment of mothers under medication with enzyme-inducing drugs with vitamin K during the last 15-30 days of pregnancy. The regimes of prophylactic vitamin K treatment of different countries are also given. Finally, the therapeutic use of vitamin K is addressed; the potential use of fresh-frozen plasma, prothrombin complex preparations, and recombinant factor VIIa is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center