Respiration slowed or stopped; Not breathing; Respiratory arrest; Apnea
Breathing that slows down or stops from any cause is called apnea.
Apnea can come and go and be temporary. This can occur with obstructive sleep apnea, for example.
Prolonged apnea means a person has stopped breathing. If the heart is still active, the condition is known as respiratory arrest. This is a life-threatening event that requires immediate medical attention and first aid.
Prolonged apnea accompanied by lack of any heart activity in a person who is not responsive is called cardiac (or cardiopulmonary) arrest. In infants and children, the most common cause of cardiac arrest is respiratory arrest. In adults, the opposite usually occurs: Cardiac arrest leads to respiratory arrest.
Apnea can occur for many different reasons. The most common causes of apnea in infants and small children are usually different from the most common causes in adults.
Common causes of apnea in infants and young children include:
Common causes of apnea in adults include:
Other causes of apnea include:
Ward KR, Neumar RW. Adult resuscitation. In: Marx J, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al., eds. Rosenâ€™s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 7.
Berg MD, Nadkarni VM, Gausche-Hill M, Kaji AH, Berg RA. Pediatric resuscitation. In: Marx J, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al., eds. Rosenâ€™s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 8.
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