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Dan Med Bull. 2010 Nov;57(11):A4217.

Long-term prognosis for children with breath-holding spells.

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Gentofte Hospital, Department of Paediatrics, Denmark, Copenhagen N, Denmark.



The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term prognosis for children with severe breath-holding spells (BHS).


The study was a retrospective cohort study. Data from the medical records of all patients with severe BHS admitted during a ten-year period were recorded and a questionnaire was sent to the families. A matched group of adolescents with febrile convulsions served as controls (n = 289).


A total of 85 out of 115 families (73.9%) responded. The mean age of the included patients was 20.5 years. Among first-degree relatives 21.5% had BHS and 14.6% had epilepsy. The peak age for severe BHS was 16 months. The children had a total of 1-25 attacks. All electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings were normal. One patient died of asystolia at the age of 20 years, ECG two weeks previously showed a WPW-block. Twenty-six (30.6%, p < 0.001) had fainting spells. Twenty-five (29.4%) had concentration problems. The grades achieved by BHD children at the final school exam did not differ from the mean values achieved by all children in the area.


In this study on the long-term prognosis of children with BHS, we found a predisposition to fainting spells as expected. We also found that 29.4% of children with BHS had concentration problems. Further follow-up studies are needed to confirm this trend.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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