Prevention of Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding

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Abstract

The risk that a newborn will develop vitamin K deficiency bleeding is 1700/100,000 (one out of 59) if vitamin K is not administered. When intramuscular vitamin K is administered, the risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding is reduced to 1/100,000. While women may have misconceptions about vitamin K prophylaxis for their newborns, health care providers should be prepared with factual information. Prophylaxis is needed even for healthy newborns without risk factors for bleeding. Other forms of vitamin K supplementation, including oral administration of Food and Drug Administration-approved vitamin K preparations and maternal supplements during pregnancy or lactation, do not have the same effectiveness as the parenteral form. The formulations of vitamin K approved for use in the United States have not been associated with childhood leukemia or other childhood health problems. Care providers need to give accurate information to families regarding the risks and benefits of vitamin K prophylaxis. An interprofessional approach to education can be effective in increasing acceptance of vitamin K prophylaxis and decreasing the incidence of vitamin K deficiency bleeding. This article uses a case study approach to highlight common misconceptions about vitamin K prophylaxis and discuss a recent interprofessional collaboration to prevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding.

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