|Birth||Postnatal||Childhood Illness||Glossary A-Z|
Vitamin K is produced by the body, and helps the blood to clot. Thus,
it is essential to prevent serious bleeding. Vitamin K prevents a now
rare, but often fatal, bleeding disorder called Haemorrhagic
Disease of the Newborn (HDN). HDN can cause bleeding into the brain,
which may result in brain damage. HDN can be early (0-24 hours), classic
(2-5 days) or late (1-12weeks).
Click here for the major features of HDN.
Symptoms and Signs
The warning signs of HDN include spontaneous
bruising or excessive bruising after minor injury, nose bleeds, oozing
or bleeding from the umbilicus, dark vomit, dark stools or blood in the
nappy, or excessive bleeding from skin lesions. Other less specific warning
signs include pallor, irritability and jaundice. These signs should be
treated seriously even if vitamin K prophylaxis has been given. Parents
should be advised to seek immediate medical advice if their infant has
any of these signs.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Nowadays routine administration of vitamin K at birth, usually a single
1 mg intramuscular injection, prevents virtually all cases of classic
and late HDN.
The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken
from the following source(s):
|http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/child_nutrition/vitaminK.html||Last modified: Oct 20 2004|