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Pediatr Int. 2013 Jun;55(3):328-31. doi: 10.1111/ped.12090.

Breath holding spells: point prevalence and associated factors among Turkish children.

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Department of Pediatric Neurology, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, Turkey.



Breath holding spells (BHS) are known as paroxysmal non-epileptic disorder. There are two subtypes of BHS: cyanotic and the pallid. BHS have been reported to occur in 0.1-4.6% of children in Western countries. Although it is easy to diagnose in its typical form, the data on prevalence of BHS are insufficient in developing countries.


This study was performed in Turkey's Eskisehir province. A total of 1000 randomly selected 0-6-year-old children were invited to family health centers. A specific questionnaire was given to parents. Children who had a history BHS were referred to the hospital to for investigation of medical history and neurological examinations.


A total of 933 children participated and were included in analysis. Thirty-four children (3.6%) had had BHS. Children's birthweight, parent consanguinity and mothers' education status significantly affected the frequency of BHS. Increase in birth sequence decreases the risk of BHS 0.65-fold. Fathers' education status also affected the prevalence of BHS, with the risk of BHS being 0.39-fold less if the father had completed high school or some higher education. And, as the age of the fathers increased, the risk that their children would have BHS was 1.14-fold higher.


Although the calculated prevalence rate was compatible with previous studies, positive family history for BHS, birth sequence, parents' education status and fathers' age were identified as risk factors associated with BHS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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