Background: Early infant (1-60 days of life) male circumcision is being trialed in Africa as a human immunodeficiency virus prevention strategy. Postcircumcision bleeding is particularly concerning where most infants are breastfed, and thus these infants are at increased risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding.
Case: During a circumcision trial, one infant bled for 90 minutes postprocedure. After discovering he had not received standard prophylactic vitamin K, we gave 2 mg phytomenadione (vitamin K1) intramuscularly; bleeding stopped within 30 minutes.
Conclusion: Vitamin K's extremely rapid action is not commonly appreciated. Neonatal vitamin K has been shown to be cost-effective. To increase availability and promote awareness of its importance, especially in low-resource settings where blood products and transfusions are limited, vitamin K should be included in the World Health Organization's Model List of Essential Medicines for Children.