Vitamin K supplementation to prevent hemorrhagic morbidity and mortality of newborns in India and China

Abstract

Background

Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB) can cause prolonged and bleeding (intracranial hemorrhage) among newborns, which can be life-threatening or lead to long-term morbidity. The aim of this review article is to reiterate empirical evidence to support the argument that vitamin K should be mandatory for newborns in India and China, as well as in other countries with a high burden of neonatal deaths.

Data sources

Studies were integrated from the PubMed/MEDLINE database search, as well as related literature available elsewhere.

Results

Both India and China have been slow in adopting an effective program for administering vitamin K injections to newborns to prevent VKDB-related morbidity and mortality. VKDB cases in China and India have shown inadequate attention to routine use of vitamin K by injection.

Conclusions

While no reliable data are publicly available, the issue of VKDB is at last receiving some attention from the Chinese public health system as well as the Indian government. In both countries, routine vitamin K administration to newborns would prove to be a cost-effective intervention to reduce preventable neonatal morbidity and mortality. VKDB is a global neonatal care issue, including countries where parental resistance is preventing babies from defense against this life-threatening condition.

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Correspondence to Rajesh Kumar Rai.

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Rai, R.K., Luo, J. & Tulchinsky, T.H. Vitamin K supplementation to prevent hemorrhagic morbidity and mortality of newborns in India and China. World J Pediatr 13, 15–19 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12519-016-0062-6

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Key words

  • global health
  • hemorrhagic disease of the newborn
  • intracranial hemorrhage
  • neonatal mortality
  • vitamin K deficiency bleeding disorder