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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2008 Feb 2;152(5):237-40.

[Apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) in young children: the importance of recognition of the symptoms].

[Article in Dutch]

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Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, afd. Public Health en Eerstelijnsgeneeskunde, Leiden.


An Apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) mostly occurs in infants under 6 months of age and can generate considerable anxiety in the parents. In most cases, by the time the child presents in general practice, the general practitioner sees a healthy looking infant and all symptoms have disappeared. There is some discrepancy between the healthy looking child and the alarming history of the event, with an unresponsive, pale or cyanotic, and apparently not breathing child. The general practitioner must take a careful history and perform a thorough physical examination to determine the possible cause of the event and to decide whether clinical observation is necessary. In this article, two cases are presented in which an infant presented to a general practitioner with an ALTE. Clinical observation is indicated in almost all cases of an ALTE, and in 50% of the cases a cause for the event is found. The purpose of the present report is to give the general practitioner information on the practical aspects of the management of infants that have experienced an apparent life-threatening event.

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