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Apnea - newborns; AOP; As and Bs; Blue spell - newborns; Dusky spell - newborns; Spell - newborns
Newborns, especially preemies, often have an irregular breathing pattern.
These babies will have short episodes (5 - 10 seconds) of either shallow breathing or stopped breathing (apnea). These episodes are followed by periods of normal breathing.
When there is very shallow or no breathing (apnea), the baby may also have a drop in heart rate. This heart rate drop is called bradycardia.
Some babies may also have poor color and an ill-looking appearance. Apnea episodes that last longer than 20 seconds are considered serious.
Because most preterm and some sick full-term babies have some degree of apnea, these babies are hooked up to monitors in the hospital to watch their breathing, heart rate, and oxygen levels. Apnea or a drop in heart rate can set off the alarms on these monitors.
Owens JA. Sleep medicine. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 18.
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