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Z Geburtshilfe Neonatol. 2015 Oct;219(5):238-42. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1555873. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

Late Vitamin K Deficient Bleeding in 2 Young Infants--Renaissance of a Preventable Disease.

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University Children's Hospital, Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.
Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.



Late vitamin K deficiency bleeding in young infants is a rare disorder which occurs almost exclusively in breast-fed infants who did not receive proper vitamin K prophylaxis at birth and who might additionally suffer from cholestasis. Its impact on morbidity is high since in 50% of the cases it presents with intracranial hemorrhage with a mortality rate of 20% and life-long neurologic sequelae in 30% of the affected infants.


2 male infants were both admitted to our unit at the age of 5 weeks with subdural hematoma with midline shift due to late vitamin K deficiency bleeding. Both infants did not receive the recommended Vitamin K prophylaxis in Germany. One patient presented with cholestatic jaundice on admission as an additional risk factor.


Parents who in the apparent best interest for their children refuse the recommended and well established vitamin K prophylaxis at birth leading to the reappearance of late vitamin K deficiency bleeding. These parents also tend to refuse routine immunizations of childhood in later life, which not only have an impact on their own child but might bear a risk for the whole community.


It is the responsibility of health-care takers to show increased awareness to the growing number of parents refusing vitamin K prophylaxis at birth and educate them properly about the devastating consequences of late vitamin K deficiency bleeding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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