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Pediatrics. 2011 Aug;128(2):e366-73. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-1567. Epub 2011 Jul 11.

Epidemiology of apnea and bradycardia resolution in premature infants.

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Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



There is little epidemiologic evidence to assess the maturation of respiratory control in premature infants.


To measure the success rate or the percentage of infants who have no additional events of various apnea- or bradycardia-free intervals after correcting for gestational age, postmenstrual age of the last apnea or bradycardia event, and the severity of the event.


This was a retrospective cohort study of infants born at 34 weeks' gestational age or earlier at 1 of 5 Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program hospitals between 1998 and 2001. The success rates of various apnea- or bradycardia-free intervals were calculated after stratifying according to gestational age, postmenstrual age of the last event, or event severity.


Among the 1403 infants identified in this study, 84.2% did not have an apnea event and 78.5% did not have a bradycardia event after they were otherwise ready for discharge. For the entire cohort, a 95% success rate was statistically reached, with a 7-day apnea- or bradycardia-free interval. Infants with a gestational age of 30 weeks or less had a 5% to 15% lower success rate than infants with a gestational age more than 30 weeks for any given apnea- or bradycardia-free interval. The success rate was reduced by an additional 5% to 10% if the last apnea or bradycardia event occurred at a postmenstrual age of more than 36 weeks. Including only the most severe events slightly improved the success rate of a given interval.


The risk of recurrence for apnea or bradycardia differs depending on the gestational age of the infant and the postmenstrual age of the last apnea or bradycardia event.

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