ALTEs, especially in young infants, are often associated with medical conditions that require treatment(such as gastroesophogeal reflux [GERD], infections, or neurological disorders). ALTEs are scary toobserve, but can be uncomplicated and may not happen again. However, any child who has an ALTEshould be seen and evaluated immediately.
Apnea of Prematurity (AOP)
AOPcan occur in infants who are bornprematurely(before 34 weeks of pregnancy). Because the brain
or respiratory system may be immature or underdeveloped, the baby may not be able to regulate hisor her own breathing normally. AOP can be obstructive, central, or mixed.Treatment for AOP can involve the following:
keeping the infant's head and neck straight (premature babies should always be placed ontheir backs to sleep to help keep the airways clear)
medications to stimulate the respiratory system
continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) — to keep the airway open with the help of forcedair through a nose mask
oxygenPremature infants with AOP are followed closely in the hospital. If AOP doesn't resolve beforedischarge from the hospital, an infant may be sent home on an apnea monitor and parents and othercaregivers will be taughtCPR. The family will work closely with the child's doctor to have a treatmentplan in place.
Apnea of Infancy (AOI)
Apnea of infancy occurs in children who are younger than 1 year old and who were born after a full-term pregnancy. Following a complete medical evaluation, if a cause of apnea isn't found, it's oftencalled apnea of infancy. AOI usually goes away on its own, but if it doesn't cause any significantproblems (such as low blood oxygen), it may be considered part of the child's normal breathingpattern.Infants with AOI can be observed at home with the help of a special monitor prescribed by a sleepspecialist. This monitor records chest movements and heart rate and can relay the readings to ahospital apnea program or save them for future examination by a doctor. Parents and caregivers willbe taught CPR before the child is sent home.
If You Think Your Child Has Apnea