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Pediatrics. 2016 May;137(5). pii: e20154222. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-4222.

Prophylactic Dosing of Vitamin K to Prevent Bleeding.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery and.
Departments of Pediatric Surgery, and.
Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands; and



Based on a high incidence of Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB) in breastfed infants with thus far unrecognized cholestasis, such as biliary atresia (BA), the Dutch regimen to prevent VKDB in breastfed infants was changed from a daily oral dosage of 25 µg to 150 µg vitamin K. Infants continued to receive 1 mg of vitamin K orally at birth. We compared the efficacy of the 150-µg regimen with the 25-µg regimen and with the Danish regimen of a single intramuscular (IM) dose of 2 mg vitamin K at birth.


Data were retrieved from the national BA registries: 25 µg group (Netherlands, January 1991 to February 2011); 150 µg group (Netherlands, March 2011 to January 2015); and IM 2 mg group (Denmark, July 2000 to November 2014). We compared the incidence of VKDB in the groups.


VKDB occurred in 45 of 55 (82%) infants of the 25 µg group, in 9 of 11 (82%) of the 150 µg group, but in only 1 of 25 (4%) of the IM 2 mg group (P < .001). Forty percent of all infants of the 25 µg group had an intracranial hemorrhage as presenting symptom, compared with 27% of the infants of the 150 µg group (P = .43). Intracranial hemorrhage was not observed in the IM 2 mg group (0%; P < .001).


A vitamin K prophylactic regimen of 1 mg of vitamin K orally at birth followed by a daily oral dosage of either 25 or 150 µg fails to prevent VKDB in breastfed infants with still unrecognized BA. The data support 2 mg vitamin K IM at birth as prophylaxis against VKDB.

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