, Volume 147, Issue 5, pp 472-477

The second nation-wide survey in Japan of vitamin K deficiency in infancy

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Throughout Japan a total of 543 cases of vitamin K deficiency occurring in infants over 2 weeks of age were reported from January 1981 to June 1985. Of these cases, 427 showed no obvious reasons for vitamin K deficiency; this sort of case is known as “idiopathic vitamin K deficiency in infancy”. Another 57 cases had bleeding episodes due to vitamin K deficiency associated with obvious hepatobiliary lesions, chronic diarrhoea, long-term antibiotic therapy, etc; this sort is called “secondary vitamin K deficiency in infacy”. The third group, consisting of 59 cases, was made up of the socalled “near miss” type, in which a haemorrhagic tendency, without any obvious clinical haemorrhage, was discovered by Normotest, at the time of mass screening in most cases. In the idiopathic group, 269 cases (63.0%) developed bleeding episodes between the 1st and 2nd months of age, and 387 cases (90.0%) were entirely breast-fed. Intracranial baemorrhage was observed in 353 cases (82.7%) of this group. Moreover, slight elevation of serum transaminase and direct type bilirubin levels were observed in the idiopathic group. Liver dysfunction of unknown origin may play some role in the onset of vitamin K deficiency in infancy.