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Pediatr Res. 1989 Mar;25(3):258-61.

Periodic breathing cycle duration in preterm infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305.


Periodic breathing cycle duration (PCD), the time interval from the beginning of one respiratory pause to the beginning of the next pause within an episode of periodic breathing (PB), was measured by examination of 24-h impedance pneumograms in 51 preterm infants. Calculations of the SD of PCD within a given PB episode (approximately 3 s) and comparison of PCD values between two PB episodes in each infant (r = 0.68) revealed considerable variability in PCD. This variability was not related to the number of cycles in the PB episode or to the amount of PB in the recording. Contrary to the decrease in PCD from 15.0 s at 1 wk to 12.4 s at 12 wk in term infants reported previously, PCD did not vary as a function of postconceptional, gestational, or postnatal age in our preterm population. PCD has limited value as an indicator of chemoreceptor maturation in the preterm infant, and most likely reflects transient adjustments in respiratory system control.

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