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About Apnea of Prematurity in children…

• After birth, the infants have to breathe continuously in order to get oxygen.
• The part of the central nervous system which controls breathing which are brain and spinal cord is not yet mature enough in a premature baby.
• The system is not strong enough to allow breathing round the clock.
• This leads to large bursts of breath.
• This is followed by periods of stopped or interrupted breathing.
• The medical term for such a condition is apnea of prematurity and it is in short known as AOP.

About Apnea of Prematurity

• Apnea of prematurity is very common in prime years.
• Doctors generally diagnose the condition prior to the discharge of mother and baby.
• The apnea usually fades away on its own accord upon maturity of the baby.
• Apnea of prematurity does not revert back once it goes away.
• Apnea is a medically known as a condition in which the baby stops breathing.
• Apnea of prematurity is termed as a condition where premature infants breathing spans to about 15 to 20 seconds while sleeping.
• Babies of less than 35 weeks’ gestation period, have dropped heart rates and this is when they stop breathing.
• Bradycardia is the medical term for slowed heart rate.
• The abnormalities in breathing usually begin after 2 days of birth.
• These abnormalities may last for about 2 to 3 months succeeding the birth.
• If the infant’s weight is at low level in premature birth, then the infant is more likely to have AOP.
• The heart rate for an infant with AOP is below 80 beats count per minute.
• These infants appear pale or bluish and this is because of low heart rate.
• Such infant may also appear to be limp.
• Such infant have a noisy breathing.
• They start breathing on their own accord sometimes.
• Sometimes there is some help required to resume breathing.
• AOP and periodic breathing are not same and should not be confused with each other.

Treatment for Apnea of Prematurity

• Premature infants certainly need medical care from the hospital for apnea of prematurity.
• The best care is in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the hospital.
• Infants with AOP require immediate care and help at birth or their life could be in danger.
• This is so as they have immature lungs which are responsible for the breathing.
• Hence, they need help to breathe on their own.

Medications for Apnea of Maturity

• Intravenous (IV) caffeine medication is given to AOP suffering infants.
• This medication can be given even through mouth.
• This is given to activate breathing.
• They are then taken off this medication.
• Sometimes, it is so while in the NICU.

Monitoring Breathing

• Monitoring of the infants suffering with AOP is essential.
• A monitor known as the cardio-respiratory monitor is used to monitor such infants.
• It is also known as bradycardia, apnea or A/B, monitor.
• It basically tracks the heart rate of that infant.
• There is an alarm which sets off with a beep or sound once the breath is below the set up number or on no breathing.
• The baby is checked for breathing within a time slot of 15 seconds.
• In order to do so, the nurse might rub arms, back and legs of the infant in order to regenerate breathing.

Apnea of Prematurity What to Expect the First Year Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children

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