Preventing Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding in Infants
CDC Medical Officer Dr. Stuart Shapira addresses the importance of discussing and administering the Vitamin K injection at birth.
In 2013, the Tennessee Department of Health, with CDC assistance investigated a cluster of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in infants who had not received vitamin K at birth because their parents had declined the injection for their infants. Most of these infants had large intracranial bleeds. CDC Medical Officer, Dr. Stuart Shapira shares strategies and tools to help doctors talk with new and expecting parents about the importance of the vitamin K injection.
See more at: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/vitamink
- Babies are born with very small amounts
of vitamin K in their bodies,
and standard practice is to give
a vitamin K injection at birth.
A recent CDC study showed that some new parents
are declining this injection for their newborn.
This is an educational opportunity for healthcare providers,
to share with new parents that vitamin K
is a safe substance that newborns need
to form clots and stop bleeding.
Without this, the child is at risk for
vitamin K deficiency bleeding disorder,
a disorder that can lead to brain damage and even death
during the first six months of life.
The risk of developing vitamin K deficiency bleeding
is 81 times greater in infants who do not receive
the vitamin K injection, when compared with those who do.
In 2013, the Tennessee Department of Health,
with CDC assistance, investigated a cluster of
vitamin K deficiency bleeding in infants
who had not received their vitamin K at birth
because their parents had declined the injection
for their infants.
Most of these infants had large intracranial bleeds.
Parents of these infants and other parents surveyed
who had declined the vitamin K injection
did not know that the risk for vitamin K deficiency bleeding
lasts for up to six months.
Vitamin K is safe, and the injection at birth
is highly effective at preventing
vitamin K deficiency bleeding.
Since 1961, The American Academy of Pediatrics
has recommended one dose of intramuscular vitamin K
just after birth for infants
to prevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding.
In order to provide time for immediate bonding and contact
between the infant and mother,
vitamin K administration can be delayed
up to six hours after birth.
CDC concurs with this recommendation.
Vitamin K is rarely talked about with expectant parents,
and education is key to protecting children
from vitamin K deficiency bleeding.
Please, talk with your patients that are expectant parents
about vitamin K.
The risk of vitamin K deficiency
leading to severe bleeds is real,
while the perceived risks of the vitamin K shot are not.