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September 1961

Petechiae in the Newborn Infant

Author Affiliations

Fellow in Pediatrics, Mayo Foundation (Dr. Poley); Section of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation (Dr. Stickler). The Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn., is a part of the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota.

Am J Dis Child. 1961;102(3):365-368. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.02080010367011

Every physician who examines newborn infants has observed petechiae. Petechiae occurring in the newborn period have been described in standard pediatric textbooks.1,2 The cause for this phenomenon is not quite clear. Our interest in investigating the subject arose from the observation of 4 newborn infants who had widely disseminated petechial bleeding of the scalp, face, and neck, associated with localized cyanosis and some edema (Fig. 1). At the time of delivery these infants had 2 or more loops of umbilical cord wrapped tightly around the neck. Further investigation of the cause of petechiae in the newborn infant led us to the belief that local or regional increase in venous pressure during delivery may be an important factor.

Material and Methods  A total of 250 newborn infants (123 females and 127 males were examined during a 6-week period, with special emphasis on notation of petechiae. The examinations were made between

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