VITAMIN K DEFICIENCY AND VITAMIN K ANTAGONISTS
|POTENTIAL CLINICAL CONSEQUENCES OF WARFARIN USE|
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient that is required as a cofactor for the production of a handful of coagulation cascade proteins. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is efficiently stored in the human body. Vitamin K deficiency is rare and is typically seen only transiently in neonates and infants during the first 6 months of life. Affected neonates may show abnormally prolonged bleeding after minor trauma. Patients may have an elevated pro- thrombin time (PT) and decreased serum levels of vitamin K and coagulation factors. Therapy consists of replacement of vitamin K to normal levels and a search for any possible underlying cause, such as liver or gastrointestinal disease. Neonatal and infantile vitamin K deficiency is most likely caused by maternal breast milk insufficiency of vitamin K.