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January 1990

Apnea, Transient Episodes of Bradycardia, and Periodic Breathing in Preterm Infants

Author Affiliations

From the University of Southern California School of Medicine and Los Angeles County—University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(1):54-57. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150250064032

• The occurrence of central apnea of 15 seconds or longer, transient episodes of bradycardia (TEB), and periodic breathing were studied in 66 healthy premature infants when at least 1 week old and between 32 and 36 weeks postconceptual age. Eight-hour cardiorespiratory recordings were visually scanned for the presence of thesee patterns. Central apnea of 15 seconds or longer was seen in almost half of the infants. The TEB were numerous, and the majority were not associated with central apnea; however, all but five of the apneic episodes that lasted 15 seconds or longer were accompanied by a TEB. Infants spent as much as 40% of their time in periodic breathing. The frequency with which these patterns are seen in healthy premature infants strongly suggests that they are normal findings. Our results do not support the opinion that brief periods of apnea are abnormal when accompanied by a TEB.

(AJDC. 1990;144:54-57)