The longitudinal effects of persistent periodic breathing on cerebral oxygenation in preterm infants

Pauline F F Decima, Karinna Fyfe, Alexsandria Odoi, Flora Yuen-Wait Wong, Rosemary Sylvia Claire Horne

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Periodic breathing is common in preterm infants, but is thought to be benign. The aim of our study was to assess the incidence and impact of periodic breathing on heart rate (HR), oxygen saturation (SpO2), and brain tissue oxygenation index (TOI) over the first six months after term-equivalent age. Study design: Twenty-four preterm infants (27?36 weeks gestational age) were studied with daytime polysomnography in quiet sleep (QS) and active sleep (AS) and in both the prone and supine positions at 2?4 weeks, 2?3 months, and 5?6 months post-term corrected age. HR, SpO2, and TOI (NIRO-200 spectrophotometer) were recorded. Periodic breathing episodes were defined as greater than or equal to three sequential apneas each lasting =3 s. Results: A total 164 individual episodes of periodic breathing were recorded in 19 infants at 2?4 weeks, 62 in 12 infants at 2?3 months, and 35 in 10 infants at 5?6 months. There was no effect of gestational age on periodic breathing frequency or duration. Falls in HR (-21.9 ? 2.7 ) and TOI (-13.1 ? 1.5 ) were significantly greater at 2?3 months of age compared to 2?4 weeks of age. Conclusions: The majority of preterm infants discharged home without clinical respiratory problems had persistent periodic breathing. Although in most infants periodic breathing was not associated with significant falls in SpO2 or TOI, several infants had significant desaturations and reduced cerebral oxygenation especially during AS. The clinical significance of this on eurodevelopmental outcome is unknown and warrants further investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729 - 735
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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