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Pediatr Res. 2007 Nov;62(5):591-6.

Ventilatory response to a hyperoxic test is related to the frequency of short apneic episodes in late preterm neonates.

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Dysrégulations Métaboliques Acquises et Génétiques (EA3901), Medical Faculty, University of Picardy, 80036 Amiens, France.


Chemoreception is frequently involved in the processes underlying apnea in premature infants. Apnea could result from a decrease in carotid body effectiveness. However, increased carotid body activity could also initiate apnea through hypocapnia following hyperventilation when the receptors are stimulated. The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between carotid body effectiveness and short apneic episodes in older preterm neonates. Carotid body effectiveness was assessed at thermoneutrality in 36 premature neonates (2.07 +/- 0.26 kg) by performing a 30-s hyperoxic test during sleep, the oxygen inhalation involving a ventilation decrease. Blood O(2) saturation (Sp(o2)) and ventilatory parameters were monitored before and during the hyperoxic test. Short episodes of apnea (frequency and mean duration) were recorded during the morning's 3-h interfeeding interval. Pretest Sp(o2) was not related to any of the measured respiratory parameters. A higher frequency of short apneic episodes was linked to a greater ventilation decrease in response to the hyperoxic test (rho = -0.32; p = 0.01). Increased carotid body response is correlated with greater apneic episodes frequency, even in the absence of concomitant oxygen desaturation. Fetal or early postnatal hypoxemia could have increased peripheral chemoreceptor activity, which could initiate a "overshoot/undershoot" situation, which in turn could induce a critical P(o2)/P(co2) combination and apnea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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