The recent phenomenal progress in the knowledge of the antihemorrhagic factor, called vitamin K by Dam and Schønheyder,1 and its influence on the prothrombin activation of the blood have brought into clear relief the etiologic relationship in which this vitamin stands to the hitherto obscure bleeding tendency frequently encountered in the neonatal period. As early as 1912 Whipple,2 after conducting coagulation experiments on the heart's blood obtained at autopsy from an infant dying of melena neonatorum, stated in no uncertain terms that the absence of prothrombin in the blood constituted the underlying cause of this disease. Simply because the blood used in Whipple's experiments was collected after death, this striking conclusion, published over a quarter of a century ago, apparently remained unheeded. Whipple, in the necropsy protocol, stated that the blood was quite fluid and that no evidence was found of any clot formation in any part of
KATO K, PONCHER HG. THE PROTHROMBIN IN THE BLOOD OF NEWBORN MATURE AND IMMATURE INFANTS: AS DETERMINED BY THE MICRO PROTHROMBIN TEST. JAMA. 1940;114(9):749–753. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810090027008
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