Bruising and bleeding in infants and children – a practical approach

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Bruising and bleeding are commonly seen in children and are usually associated with minor injury and trauma. However, in two groups of children the bruising may be more significant than expected: those with an underlying haemostatic abnormality, such as an inherited bleeding disorder, or those who have been subjected to non-accidental injury (NAI). Diagnosing inherited bleeding disorders in children is fraught with difficulty, from venous access to interpretation of results; the possibility of NAI should be borne in mind, even in those children with proven significant bleeding disorders when the severity of the injury and the history are non-compatible. We describe the investigation of the haemostatic system in children with bruising and/or bleeding with emphasis on the key haemostatic disorders that need to be excluded.

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