The interesting article by Hodgman et al1 published in the September 1993 issue of AfDC documents transient episodes of bradycardia of 60 to 70 beats per minute as a common finding in preterm and term infants during the first weeks of life. The exact mechanisms responsible for these episodes are not completely understood; however, the authors consider them to be normal reflex responses.
In our neonatal unit, continuous monitoring of heart rhythms and breathing movements is routine in sick infants as well as in preterm infants in stable condition during the first weeks of life. The equipment used (Diascope 2, S&W Medico Teknik A/S, Albertslund, Denmark) includes automatic recording on paper of the electrocardiographic pattern with a 4-second memory function for episodes when the heart rate moves outside preset limits. Transient episodes of bradycardia lasting 5 to 20 seconds are frequently registered, in accordance with the observations of Hodgman et
Meberg A. Transient Bradycardia in Early Infancy. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(11):1231–1232. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170110117031