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Sleep Med. 2009 Apr;10(4):464-70. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2008.03.014. Epub 2008 Aug 5.

Pacifier use does not alter the frequency or duration of spontaneous arousals in sleeping infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 30, 8036 Graz, Styria, Austria.



It has been reported that pacifiers might reduce the risk of SIDS by favouring infants' arousability from sleep. We evaluated the influence of a pacifier on the frequency and duration of spontaneous arousals in healthy infants.


Polygraphic recordings were performed in 14 infants with an age of 51.7+/-19.9 days (means+/-SD) who regularly used a pacifier during sleep. Cortical and subcortical arousals were scored according to the recommendations of the "International Paediatric Work Group on Arousals." The number of arousals per 10-min-period and the duration of arousals were determined for periods of pacifier use as well as for periods after pacifier dislodgement and were compared with the data of 10 control infants (age 49.8+/-16.5 days) who never used a pacifier.


Altogether, 211 arousals in pacifier users and 225 arousals in non-users were scored. In pacifier users, 2.0+/-1.6 arousals per 10-min-period with a duration of 12.2+/-3.0 s occurred during pacifier use, and 1.7+/-1.6 arousals per 10-min-period with a duration of 12.2+/-3.1s occurred during periods without pacifier. In pacifier non-users, 2.3+/-1.2 arousals per 10-min-period (duration 13.9+/-2.9s) were scored. The results did not show a significant difference concerning frequency and duration of spontaneous arousals between pacifier users and non-users.


Our findings suggest that factors other than arousal mechanisms might be responsible for the efficacy of pacifiers in SIDS prophylaxis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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