Vitamin K Deficiency Clinical Presentation

Updated: Sep 27, 2017
  • Author: Dieu-Thu Nguyen-Khoa, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
  • Print


The clinical manifestations of vitamin K (VK) deficiency are evident only if hypoprothrombinemia is present. Bleeding is the major symptom, especially in response to minor or trivial trauma. Any site can be involved, so manifestations can include mucosal and subcutaneous bleeding, such as epistaxis, hematoma, gastrointestinal bleeding, menorrhagia, hematuria, gum bleeding, and oozing from venipuncture sites. Easy bruisability also is observed. [20]


Physical Examination

Ecchymosis, petechiae, hematomas, and oozing of blood at surgical or puncture sites are observed. In infants, some birth defects, such as underdevelopment of the face, nose, bones, and fingers, are linked to a VK-deficient state. Infants may present with nontraumatic intracranial bleeding with signs such as vomiting, poor intake, anemia, seizures, and bleeding in mucosal sites.



The characteristics of vitamin K (VK) deficiency vary according to the age of onset. In infants, its deficiency causes hemorrhagic disease of newborn, resulting in intracranial and retroperitoneal bleeding, which can occur at 1-7 days postpartum. Late hemorrhagic disease of newborn can occur as late as 3 months postpartum. (See Presentation and Workup.) [21, 22]

Because VK is involved in gamma carboxylation of osteocalcin, which is important in bone synthesis, osteoporosis is associated with VK deficiency. [23, 24, 25]  Osteocalcin is important in the remodeling and mineralization of bone.