Dummy/pacifier use in preterm infants increases blood pressure and improves heart rate control

Rosemary S C. Horne, Karinna L. Fyfe, Alexsandria Odoi, Anjalee Athukoralage, Stephanie Yiallourou, Flora Yuen-Wait Wong

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Preterm infants are at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Use of a dummy/pacifier is thought to be protective against SIDS; accordingly, we assessed the effects of dummy/pacifier use on blood pressure, cerebral oxygenation, and heart rate control over the first 6 mo of life after term corrected age (CA) when SIDS risk is greatest. METHODS: Thirty-five preterm infants were studied longitudinally at 2-4 wk, 2-3 mo, and 5-6 mo CA. Cardiac control was assessed from spectral indices of heart rate variability (HRV) in the low frequency (LF) and the high frequency (HF) range, and the ratio of HF/LF indicating sympathovagal balance was calculated. RESULTS: Overall, at 2-3 mo, mean arterial pressure was significantly higher in the supine position in dummy/pacifier users in both quiet sleep (70 +/- 2 vs. 60 +/- 2 mm Hg; P <0.05) and active sleep (74 +/- 3 vs. 69 +/- 2 mm Hg; P <0.05). Dummy/pacifier users had higher LF HRV and LF/HF ratio and lower HF HRV. CONCLUSION: Dummy/pacifier use increased blood pressure during sleep, at the age of greatest SIDS risk. Overall, LF HRV was elevated and HF HRV reduced in dummy/pacifier users, suggesting that dummy use alters cardiac control in preterm infants.Pediatric Research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-332
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

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