Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 20, 2019
  • Author: Dharmendra J Nimavat, MD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Santina A Zanelli, MD  more...
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History and Physical Examination


The maternal history is very important when assessing vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB) in neonates and infants, especially the medications used during pregnancy, the presence of medical conditions such as short gut syndrome, and unusual dietary intakes.

Better surveillance during pregnancy and careful medical evaluation of neonate after delivery are essential.

Physical examination

Most newborn infants are healthy upon examination, even if early onset bleeding is present; however, intracranial hemorrhage can occur during the birthing process and can lead to severe complications. Signs of intracranial hemorrhage include apnea with or without seizures and a shocklike syndrome.

Internal hemorrhage of organs other than the brain (eg, liver, adrenal glands) may be difficult to detect; however, if they are suspected, careful physical monitoring and serial imaging after birth are indicated.

Soft-tissue hemorrhage is easier to recognize, but sequential measurements of the bleeding into soft tissues or muscle are mandatory.