INFANT SLEEP APNEA

Updated March 24, 1999

INFANT SLEEP APNEA

What is Infant Sleep Apnea?

Infant sleep apnea is characterized by central apneas or obstructive apneas that occur while asleep. An apnea is the stoppage of airflow at the nostrils and mouth lasting at least 10 seconds. A central apnea is when respiratory efforts stop for more than 10 seconds (20 seconds in infancy). An obstructive apnea is when the upper airway is blocked.

Up to what age is it considered "Infant" Apnea?

The diagnosis of 'Apnea of Infancy' is reserved for infants who are older than 37 weeks (approximately 9 months) at the onset of the apnea and for whom no specific cause of apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) or apnea can be identified.

'Apnea of Prematurity' is restricted to apnea in infants younger than 37 weeks (approximately 9 months) and not due to an explainable cause except respiratory immaturity.

What are the symptoms?


Diagnostic Classification Steering Committee, Thorpy MJ, Chairman. International Classification of Sleep Disorders: Diagnostic and Coding Manual. Rochester, Minnesota: American Sleep Disorders Association, 1990.

Kryger, Meir H., Roth, Thomas, Dement, William C. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, 2nd Edition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: W.B. Saunders Company, 1994.


RESOURCES & INFORMATION

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Apparenet Life-Threating Event (ALTE): A clinical syndrome and may be associated with an unexplained apnea or an apnea of known cause.

Central Apnea: Cessation of airflow at the nostrils and mouth lasting at least 10 seconds and is associated with a cessation of all respiratory movements.

Obstructive Apnea: Cessation of airflow at the nostrils and mouth lasting at least 10 seconds and is secondary to upper airway obstruction.

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