Late-type vitamin K deficiency bleeding: experience from 120 patients

Childs Nerv Syst. 2012 Feb;28(2):247-51. doi: 10.1007/s00381-011-1575-x. Epub 2011 Sep 18.


Background: Deficiency of vitamin K predisposes to early, classic, or late vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), of which late VKDB may be associated with serious and life-threatening intracranial bleeding. Late VKDB is characterized with intracranial bleeding in infants aged 2-24 weeks due to severe vitamin K deficiency, occurring primarily in exclusively breast-fed infants. Late VKDB is still an important cause of mortality and morbidity in developing countries.

Materials and methods: We presented 120 cases of late VKDB, which were evaluated at Erciyes University Medical Faculty Hospital between June 1990 and June 2006.

Results: Signs and symptoms of the patients were bulging fontanels (70%); irritabilities (50%); convulsions (49%); bleeding and ecchymosis (47%); feeding intolerance, poor sucking, and vomiting (46%); diarrhea (34%); jaundice (11%); and pallor (9%), and among these infants, 21% received medication before the diagnosis (10%, antibiotics; 3%, simethicone; 4%, paracetamol; and 4%, phenobarbital). Intracranial hemorrhage in 88 (73%) patients has been observed. The hemorrhage was subdural in 34 (28%) cases, intracerebral in 28 (23%), subarachnoid in 17 (14%), intraventricular in 9 (8%), intracerebral and subdural in 12 (10%), subdural and subarachnoid in 6 (5%), and combination of intracerebral, subdural, and intraventricular in 14 (12%), and the mortality rate was 31%.

Conclusion: Although late VKDB leads to significant morbidity and mortality, it can be avoided by providing vitamin K prophylaxis to all newborns. Administration of vitamin K (1 mg) at birth can prevent intracranial bleeding and other hemorrhagic manifestations.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology*
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / mortality
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / diagnosis*
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / mortality