The presentation of a neonate with clinical bleeding symptoms commonly causes considerable anxiety to parents and treating physicians. Since inherited coagulation disorders are rare many children with persistently abnormal coagulation screens will have an underlying bleeding disorder. Apart from emergency cases a family history including a bleeding questionnaire is mandatory asking for the onset and/or severity symptoms of hemorrhage prior to laboratory assessment. The absolute values of reference ranges for coagulation assays in neonates and children vary with analyzer and reagent systems, but confirm the concept of developmental hemostasis, showing that physiologic concentrations of coagulation proteins gradually increase and are lower in premature infants as compared to full-term babies or healthy children. The evaluation should include global screening tests and a full blood cell count to rule out thrombocytopenia. As in adults a prolonged PT in neonates reflects decreased plasma concentrations of vitamin-K-dependent factors, whereas the prolonged PTT stems from decreased plasma levels of contact factors. When initial laboratory test results reveal abnormalities, as compared to age-related values, a stepwise diagnostic approach should be followed. In the bleeding neonate or infant that has no laboratory abnormality, FXIII and alpha2-antiplasmin activity should be assessed, and when primary hemostatic defects are suspected, platelet function should be further evaluated. Treatment options of a bleeding neonate vary according to the underlying medical condition.
- Bleeding disorders
- Developmental hemostasis