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Neuropediatrics. 2002 Feb;33(1):41-2.

Breath holding spells in a 3-day-old neonate: an unusual early presentation in a family with a history of breath holding spells.

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Department of Pediatrics, St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands.


Breath holding spells are common in childhood. They peak about 2 years of age and abate by 5 years of age; they are rare before 6 months of age. We report a case of cyanotic breath holding spells starting at the age of 3 days. There was a family history of breath holding spells including a three-year-old brother, patient's father, his sister, and the paternal great grandfather. Pharmacological intervention with iron replacement therapy and piracetam was not successful. We want to draw attention to the fact that breath holding spells should be included in the differential diagnosis of neonatal cyanotic spells. The course of these neonatal breath holding spells is thought to be "benign", but nevertheless, severe breath holding spells can pose problems for parents and clinicians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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