Main AHCA Website

AHCA’s main website for information on Medicaid, Health Quality Assurance and the Florida Center for Health Information and Transparency.

Go >

Florida Health Information Network

This website provides information and resources relating to AHCA’s initiatives for Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange.

Go >


FloridaHealthFinder.gov

Provides health education and information to compare and locate health care providers in Florida to make well-informed health care decisions.

Go >
AHCA Network of Websites

Health Education


Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn

Definition

Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN) is a bleeding disorder in babies. It most often develops shortly after a baby is born.

Alternative Names

Vitamin K deficiency bleeding; VKDB

Causes

A lack of vitamin K causes hemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting.

Babies often have low levels of vitamin K for a variety of reasons. Vitamin K does not move easily across the placenta from the mother to the baby. As a result, a newborn does not have much vitamin K stored-up at birth. Also, there is not much vitamin K in breast milk.

Your baby may develop this condition if:

  • A preventive vitamin K shot is not given at birth (if vitamin K is given by mouth instead of as a shot, it must be given more than once, and it may not be as effective)
  • You take certain anti-seizure or blood thinning drugs

The condition is grouped into three categories:

  • Early onset hemorrhagic disease of the newborn is very rare. It occurs during the first hours after birth and within 24 hours. Use of anti-seizure drugs or a blood thinner called coumadin during pregnancy is a common cause.
  • Classic onset disease occurs between 24 hours and 7 days after birth. It may be seen in breast-fed infants who did not receive a vitamin K shot within the first week after birth. It is also rare.
  • Late onset HDN is seen in infants between 2 weeks and 2 months old. It is more common in children who did not receive a vitamin K shot.

Newborns and infants with the following problems involving the gastrointestinal tract are more likely to develop this disorder:

  • Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • Biliary atresia
  • Celiac disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diarrhea
  • Hepatitis

Symptoms

The condition causes bleeding. The most common areas of bleeding include:

  • A boy's penis, if he has been circumcised
  • Belly button area
  • Gastrointestinal tract (may result in blood in the baby's bowel movements)
  • Mucus membranes (such as the lining of the nose and mouth)
  • Places where there has been a needle stick

There may also be:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Bruising
  • Raised lump on the baby's head (suggesting bleeding underneath one of the skull bones)

Exams and Tests

Blood clotting tests will be done.

The diagnosis is confirmed if a vitamin K shot stops the bleeding and blood clotting time (prothrombin time) is within normal limits.

Treatment

Vitamin K is given if bleeding occurs. Patients with severe bleeding may need blood transfusions.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook tends to be worse for babies with late onset hemorrhagic disease than other forms. There is a higher rate of bleeding inside the skull (intracranial hemorrhage) associated with the late onset condition.

Possible Complications

  • Bleeding inside the skull (intracranial hemorrhage), with possible brain damage
  • Death
  • Severe bleeding

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your doctor if your baby has any unexplained bleeding.

Prevention

The early onset form of the disease may be prevented by giving vitamin K shots to pregnant women who take anti-seizure medications.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving every baby a shot of vitamin K immediately after birth. This practice has helped prevent the classic and late-onset forms of the condition, which is now rare in the U.S.

References

Blood Disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011.

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn. Policy statement: controversies concerning vitamin K and the newborn. Pediatrics. 2003;112:191-192.

Warren M et al. Notes from the field: late vitamin K deficiency bleeding in infants whose parents declined vitamin K prophylaxis--Tennessee, 2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013 Nov 15;62(45):901-2.

Review Date:1/31/2014
Reviewed By:Kimberly G. Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No

2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No