Hypovitaminosis A in a newborn is uncommon but needs to be promptly treated to avoid complications.

Hypovitaminosis A in the newborn is associated with hypovitaminosis A in the mother. Reasons to suspect neonatal hypovitaminosis A include:

(1) night blindness

(2) history of bariatric surgery

(3) malnutrition

(4) other vitamin deficiencies


Findings in the neonate may include:

(1) prematurity

(2) dilated aorta

(3) micro-ophthalmia with impaired vision

(4) unexplained respiratory distress

(5) sensorineural hearing loss

(6) variable malformations (depending on onset of deficiency)

(7) early onset infection

(8) small kidney size


Findings associated with hypovitaminosis A should improve with vitamin A therapy.


Serum levels of vitamin A should be low in both the mother and neonate. However, falsely low vitamin A concentrations can occur due to laboratory error, specimen mishandling or acute inflammation. A low value should be confirmed if the results are uncertain.

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