Postnatal development of periodic breathing cycle duration in term and preterm infants

Malcolm Howard Wilkinson, Elizabeth Michalina Skuza, George C Rennie, Scott Sands, Stephanie Yiallourou, Rosemary Sylvia Claire Horne, Philip John Berger

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Previous studies of the maturation of periodic breathing cycle duration (PCD) with postnatal age in infants have yielded conflicting results. PCD is reported to fall in term infants over the first 6 mo postnatally, whereas in preterm infants PCD is reported either not to change or to fall. Contrary to measured values, use of a theoretical respiratory control model predicts PCD should increase with postnatal age. We re-examined this issue in a longitudinal study of 17 term and 22 preterm infants. PCD decreased exponentially from birth in both groups, reaching a plateau between 4 and 6 mo of age. In preterm infants, PCD fell from a mean of 18.3 s to 9.8 s [95 confidence interval (CI) is +/- 3.2 s]. In term infants, PCD fell from 15.4 s to 10.1 s (95 CI is +/- 3.1 s). The higher PCD at birth in preterm infants, and the similar PCD value at 6 mo in the two groups, suggest a more rapid maturation of PCD in preterm infants. This study confirms that PCD declines after birth. The disagreement between our data and theoretical predictions of PCD may point to important differences between the respiratory controller of the infant and adult.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331 - 336
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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